Former IDF chief names new party: ‘Israel’s Resilience’

The move ends speculation as to whether Gantz will run in the Knesset election, either on an existing list or by forming his own party.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res) Benny Gantz announced that he has registered a new political party, which he will head, in advance of the April Knesset election. The name of the party is Hosen L’Yisrael (“Israel Resilience”).

A Gantz spokeswoman said that there were no additional details at this time.

Gantz has been doing well in public opinion polls, with the latest Yisrael Hayom survey showing him gaining 15 parliamentary seats in the upcoming election, second only to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which would earn 31 seats.

Though his political views are not known to the public, Gantz is seen by some as the key to a center-left bloc capable of taking down Netanyahu.

In fact, public opinion polls show that his entry into the race would hurt the leading opposition faction in the outgoing Knesset, Zionist Union. This would explain why Gantz reportedly was offered by Zionist Union head Avi Gabbay to take over the top spot. He declined and has now registered his own party.

The 59-year-old Gantz served as Israeli military chief from February 2011 to February 2015. He is seen as having a certain flair that combines his military experience with a boyish face and charm. The Ynet news service posted a video to its website showing Gantz bringing out coffee to its camerawoman who was staked outside his house. It’s that combination which supporters hope can lead to his success in the April ballot, countering the image of Netanyahu as Mr. Security while offering a softer tone with his demeanor.

Ynet reports that Gantz has hired the services of publicists who have worked with the Labor Party and Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich in the past.