Did Benny Gantz make an enemy of everyone with his latest comments?

In the interview, Gantz made statements that will undoubtedly anger Israelis from the Left, Right and Center.

February 6, 2019 22:03
2 minute read.
Benny Gantz, chairman of the Israel Resilience Party

Benny Gantz, chairman of the Israel Resilience Party. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Just like there is no tombstone in the cemetery that says the dead man wished he had spent more time at work, there is no politician who regrets the interview that he never gave.

That could end up being truer than ever for former IDF chief of staff and current Israel Resilience Party head Benny Gantz.

Gantz was smart when he built up his support by following the advice of Aaron Burr to Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway play named after the latter: “Talk less, smile more.”

He also gained from his maiden political address last week, which he had an entire month to work on.

Perhaps he thought he could continue that momentum and get the press off his back by granting his first interview not to journalists but to stand-up comedian Hanoch Daum and singer Shlomo Artzi.

That strategy proved itself incorrect on Wednesday, when portions of the interview were published in Yediot Aharonot.

In the interview, Gantz made statements that will undoubtedly anger Israelis from the Left, Right and Center.

Leftists, who desperately want to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, probably cringed when Gantz hinted he would join a Netanyahu-led government and stay there until an indictment of Netanyahu comes, which could take a year.

Right-wingers all day took out of context statements Gantz made about the Gaza Strip withdrawal being run without tearing apart the nation. He said lessons learned from the disengagement needed to be implemented elsewhere, not that there should be a withdrawal in the West Bank.

And centrists, who just want Israel to stop going to the fringes, saw Gantz take a very Bibi-like step of granting an interview to entertainers and questioned how it is any different than Netanyahu’s nightly “interview” with a reality show star on Likud TV on his social media pages.

Just last week, Gantz told activists of his party at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds that he would end what he called “incitement against the press.” But less than a week later, he bypassed the already beleaguered media.

Gantz now has two choices: He can start giving real interviews to real reporters and let everyone knows what he thinks on everything, or the former general can go back to his camouflage and hide until the election is over.

In retrospect, either of those choices could be remembered as smarter in hindsight than the decision he made.

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