Former IDF chief of staff open to joining Knesset, non-committal about party

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz hinted that he likely would be on a Knesset list for one of the parties in the next election, which is expected to be held next year.

January 17, 2018 19:04
1 minute read.
Benny Gantz

Former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who is one of the top potential draftees ahead of the next general election, remained noncommittal about his political direction on Tuesday in a speech he gave to some 800 people at a convention of municipal companies in Eilat.

Gantz hinted that he likely would be on a Knesset candidates list for one of the parties in the next election, which is expected to be held next year.

“I can’t rule out the option because I understand the security and diplomatic needs of the State of Israel,” Gantz said. “I would give my life for Israel, so I would also be willing to give my time.

What will be the connotation, the situation, if and when? Time will tell. There is no use questioning [now] whether it will be with [Labor leader Avi] Gabbay, [Yesh Atid head Yair] Lapid, Likud, Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, or Meretz.”

Gantz said he served the country in the IDF for 38 years and still volunteers more than half his time to help the country by means of various organizations.

He criticized the three-year cooling-off period for former generals, which could prevent him from entering politics in the unlikely event that a general election is held by November.

“The cooling-off period should be shorter, because there is a need for leadership,” he said. “Israel invests in generals and military men, so why not take advantage of them? This is a political law that is intended to protect politicians and that is not proper.”

Gantz was IDF chief of staff when the purchasing of controversial German submarines was considered, but the decision to buy them came after his tenure. He revealed in his speech that he was questioned by police in the so-called “Submarine Affair.”

“I opposed the purchase of the submarines in the Defense Ministry and the security cabinet,” Gantz said. “I want to believe that the decisions were professional. This is the harshest scandal I know. I suggest to hope that there was no corruption and to wait for the results of the probe.”

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