Benny Gantz Gains Momentum as Netanyahu's Support Wanes

Benny Gantz, an Israeli politician and retired army general, has been steadily gaining popularity as an alternative to Netanyahu.

Photo by mohammed al bardawil / Unsplash

Recent opinion polls reveal a notable decline in support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ongoing trend that commenced with the eruption of violence in Gaza.

In the aftermath of the deadly Hamas assault in southern Israel, public backing for Netanyahu and his political associates has diminished, with an increasing number of voters turning their support toward Benny Gantz's National Unity party.

Maariv's published poll showcases a substantial surge in projected parliamentary seats for the centrist National Unity party, rising from the current 12 to an impressive 41. Conversely, Likud, led by Netanyahu, has witnessed a significant drop, with projections indicating a mere 19 seats, a substantial decrease from its current 32.

Benny Gantz's National Unity party

These poll findings shed light on the tragic events ensuing from the Hamas assault, resulting in the loss of over 1,300 lives and the taking of approximately 150 hostages. These events have severely undermined the public's confidence in the nation's leadership and their claims of being the exclusive guarantors of national security. Importantly, the erosion of support for Netanyahu is not a recent development; it has been underway since at least April 2023.

The polls suggest that Netanyahu's hard-right coalition has been advocating a controversial judicial reform law, a move that has deeply unsettled many Israelis, permeated the military, adversely impacted the economy, and disappointed Washington. The United States has urged Netanyahu to engage in broader agreements concerning judicial reforms and has openly criticized the legislation as "unfortunate."

Retired General

Benny Gantz, an Israeli politician and retired army general, has been steadily gaining popularity as an alternative to Netanyahu. Born on June 9, 1959, in Kfar Ahim, Israel, Gantz boasts an extensive military background, having served as the Minister of Defense from 2020 to 2022 and as the deputy prime minister of Israel between 2021 and 2022. Gantz is an alumnus of the IDF Command and Staff College and the National Security College. Gantz's appointment as Israel's 20th Chief of General Staff, with a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General, was unanimously approved by the Knesset.

After retiring from the IDF and completing the mandatory three-year cooling-off period before entering politics, Gantz founded the Israel Resilience Party in December 2018. Early in 2019, he merged his party with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and Moshe Ya'alon's Telem to form the Blue and White alliance, united by the shared goal of challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership.

Benny Gantz's position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict underscores his endorsement of a two-state solution, advocating for the establishment of a distinct political entity for the Palestinians. He underscores the criticality of Israel maintaining military supremacy over any Palestinian entity. Gantz has unambiguously expressed his unwillingness to participate in any government where Benjamin Netanyahu serves as the prime minister or minister.

He has also emphasized the imperative of reducing conflict points and enhancing Palestinian self-governance, particularly in their internal security affairs. Gantz has praised Ra'am chair Mansour Abbas for his role in the coalition and has conveyed his belief that Palestinians can govern themselves without Israeli interference in their internal matters.

Formidable Contender

The Israeli political landscape is undergoing a significant transformation in public sentiment, evident in the diminishing support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the onset of the Gaza conflict. Recent polls signal a notable waning of faith in Netanyahu's leadership, partly attributed to the repercussions of the Hamas assault in southern Israel, which claimed lives and resulted in numerous hostages.

Benny Gantz's National Unity party has emerged as a formidable contender, garnering substantial support as a viable alternative to the existing administration. As the political landscape evolves and Israel grapples with the aftermath of recent events, the evolving patterns of public support will shape the future of Israeli leadership and the nation's approach to both domestic and international challenges.

The forthcoming elections will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in determining the trajectory of Israeli politics and its stance on critical issues.

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