Former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz can enter politics in October, because his legally mandated cooling-off period after his army service ends sooner than previously thought, Channel 2 reported onTuesday night.
Gantz’s cooling-off period was initially thought to end in February 2019. Maariv newspaper had reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering to find an excuse to move up the next election to before Gantz would be eligible to run.
But the new report found that the period of time between when Gantz initially left the IDF and when he was unexpectedly named IDF chief of staff counted as part of his cooling-off period.
Now that it is known, he could already run in October, it is almost impossible to initiate a general election in which he would not be able to participate.
It is still unclear what party Gantz will select after being sought after by multiple parties.
He could also decide to form a new party.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay has said Gantz was welcome in his party but denied reports that Gantz could be Labor’s candidate for prime minister in the next election. One Labor Party official said it was known to them for quite some time that Gantz’s cooling-off period ended in October.
Meanwhile, former Labor leader Isaac Herzog is being sought by American Jewish leaders on the search committee for a replacement for Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky. A source on the committee said Herzog was invited to interview for the post and has accepted the invitation.
But Herzog’s office denied that he accepted the invitation and said it was not on his schedule.
The search committee of agency, World Zionist Organization, Jewish Federations of North America and United Israel Appeal officials, is led by agency board chairman Michael Siegal and WZO chairman Avraham Duvdevani. It will start meeting on Thursday, ahead of next week’s Agency Board of Governors meetings.
Multiple sources said Herzog is Siegal’s preferred candidate.
Other candidates who received invitations for interviews include Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, and former Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor. Oren has not decided yet whether to accept the invitation.