Former IDF Chief Benny Gantz forming party but leaving options open

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz (photo credit: REUTERS)
Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz has secretly drafted the 130 signatures of founding members necessary to form a new political party that will run in the 2019 election, a source close to Gantz said on Thursday, confirming a report on Channel 2.
But the source denied that the preparation for forming the party was a sign that he had made a final decision to either run independently with the new party or use it to negotiate with other parties that would run together.
“We are getting ready for any option, including running with a new party, joining an existing party [or] not running at all and not submitting the signatures to run,” the source said. “There will be no decision or declaration until we know when the election will be.”
The report said the signatures were being kept in a Tel Aviv law firm but were ready to be submitted to the party registrar.
One possible option remains running together with the new Achi Israeli Party being formed by former Yeroham mayor Michael Biton and Haredi Women’s College founder Adina Bar-Shalom.
The Zionist Union, Yesh Atid and Kulanu parties are also trying to draft Gantz, who polls show would be the top competition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the next election.
Channel 10 recently reported that Gantz has started raising money in the US for the new party. A source close to him confirmed that he did travel recently to New York but denied the report, saying that it would be illegal for him to raise money for a new party abroad.