Gantz getting the Right stuff from Ya’alon

Benny Gantz, head of Israel Resilience party and former IDF chief-of-staff, seeks right-wing credentials in bid to topple Netanyahu.

By
January 28, 2019 16:45
2 minute read.
Former IDF chief-of-staff Benny Gantz, December 26th, 2018

Former IDF chief-of-staff Benny Gantz, December 26th, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Jerusalem Post spoke last week to successful veteran political strategists, who recommended 12 keys to defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which were printed in Friday’s newspaper and posted online.

The article was read by several party leaders, who immediately implemented some of the advice. For instance, the strategists said that the Center must “run against Naftali Bennett and thereby build him up at Netanyahu’s expense, because the more Bennett’s New Right is seen as an alternative for voters on the Right who’d rather not vote for Netanyahu, the easier it will be to defeat him.”

The following day, Israel Resilience Party head Benny Gantz engaged Bennett in a political battle after previously ignoring the New Right leader’s attacks on him.

Another piece of advice was “The ex-Bibi factor.” The strategists said that “to defeat Netanyahu, it helps to know him well – and the best way to do that is to work with his disgruntled former aides, advisers and strategists, who know his weaknesses.”

Since that was published, Labor hired Netanyahu’s smart, former spokesman Yossi Levy. Gantz took the advice even more seriously.

Talks have intensified with Telem Party leader Moshe Ya’alon on a merger with Israel Resilience. Besides his own security credentials as a former defense minister and fellow former IDF chief of staff, what Ya’alon can give Gantz is two key former Netanyahu advisers, who have plenty to tell him about the prime minister’s weaknesses.

The first is journalist Yoaz Hendel, who served as Netanyahu’s spokesman. He is a military historian and the author of several books, including Israel vs Iran: The Shadow War, together with Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz. His books and weekly column in Yediot Aharonot – which he suspended on Monday – indicate his acumen as a security expert who is a deep thinker.

The second adviser is Attorney Zvi Hauser, who was Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary for four years, when much of the alleged wrongdoing by the premier and his wife, Sara, that is being investigated took place. He witnessed some of the incidents and emerged unscathed from Netanyahu’s office, which cannot be taken for granted.

The addition of Hendel and Hauser to a Gantz-Ya’alon list could be a game changer for two reasons. First of all, they can expose Netanyahu’s weaknesses as can anyone who is currently willing and legally permitted to talk.

Secondly, they can give the list the right-wing credentials that Gantz so desperately needs to succeed in the April 9 election. This can influence the national conversation and make Gantz a much more credible threat to the prime minister.

The deal has not yet been signed, in part because of Ya’alon’s legitimate concerns that a more left-wing party will join the list later on and tilt the balance back away from the Right.

But the steps that are being taken could end up being remembered as the beginning of a serious challenge to Netanyahu that did not exist until now.


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