Bennett's chief of staff Tal Gan-Zvi steps down in latest sign of coalition trouble

Gan-Zvi has been at Bennett’s side since 2012. “He was the ultimate loyalist,” one former colleague said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Chief of Staff Tal Gan-Zvi (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Chief of Staff Tal Gan-Zvi
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

In another sign of the trouble in the coalition, Tal Gan-Zvi, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s longtime chief of staff, on Monday announced he will be stepping down after a year in the role.

His resignation comes just over a week after Shimrit Meir, Bennett’s diplomatic adviser, stepped down.

Gan-Zvi played a key role in trying to advance a right-wing agenda in the government and was vital in keeping the Yamina Party together. He played an important role in advancing key government reforms and developed a reputation for being discreet and effective at cutting through bureaucracy.

Gan-Zvi, who has overseen negotiations on multiple state budgets in recent years, is expected to go into the business world, where he will be able to capitalize on his management experience and numerous connections.Gan-Zvi was part of the right-wing flank that tried to keep Bennett aligned with his longtime political base. He was the ultimate loyalist to Bennett and served at his side since 2012.

Prior to that, he worked for Nir Barkat when Barkat was mayor of Jerusalem. In 2015, when Bennett became education minister, Gan-Zvi was given extensive authority to implement his boss’s policies.

Tal Gan Zvi stands behind Naftali Bennett (Flash 90/Yaakov Cohen) during a visit to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (credit: FLASH 90/YAACOV COHEN)Tal Gan Zvi stands behind Naftali Bennett (Flash 90/Yaakov Cohen) during a visit to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (credit: FLASH 90/YAACOV COHEN)

Gan-Zvi helped implement Bennett’s break off from Bayit Yehudi and the establishment of the New Right Party in 2019. He continued to serve as Bennett’s top adviser and confidant during the four rounds of election and played a key role in the formation of the new government.

“One of his most important traits is his ability to get things done,” a former colleague said.

Bennett's reaction

Bennett thanked Gan-Zvi for his service and many years of partnership.

“Since I entered politics, Tal was one of the pillars at my side in public service at all of my different stops along the way,” he said. “I want to thank him for the many years for service, during which he accompanied me professionally and loyally with amazing effectiveness and hard work around-the-clock.”

Bennett said he had received the news “with sadness but understanding.”

“Tal’s wisdom and management capabilities were a precious asset for me, and I am confident that whatever he does he will succeed,” Bennett said.

“Tal’s wisdom and management capabilities were a precious asset for me and I am confident that whatever he does he will succeed.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

Gan-Zvi said it had been a privilege to work over the last decade with a “dedicated public servant who cares about the State of Israel, which is always at the top of his agenda.”

He thanked Bennett for the opportunities and challenges over the last few years.

“After a decade of intense partnership and work, and a year in the challenging job of chief of staff, I asked to step down in the near future and pursue new opportunities,” Gan-Zvi said.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid praised Gan-Zvi and hoped he would return to public service.“Gan-Zvi has decency, values and is a friend,” Lapid wrote on Twitter. “Good luck wherever you go, provided you eventually come back.”