On April 9th, 2019, Israel will hold a general election for the Knesset with a number of political parties vying for the post of Prime Minister of Israel, a post that is currently occupied by Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who never saw a war with Iran that he didn’t like.
One of the Israelis running for office is Benny Gantz, a figure that is less-well known in the West than Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Gantz was born in 1959 in Kfar Ahim in south-central Israel and was drafted into the Israeli military in 1977 where he served in the Paratroopers Brigade. In 1979, he graduated from Officer’s School and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade where he served as platoon, company and battalion commander. He also commanded the Israel Air Force’s elite Shaldag unit. In 2011, he was named the IDF Chief of General Staff, a position that he served in until is retirement in 2015. Since retiring from the military, he co-founded a social movement called Pnima (Inward) in 2016 with the mission “To build a new vision for the state, renew its ideas and create a new horizon“, in other words, replacing Netanyahu. In 2018, he announced that he would run in the Knesset general election in 2019, establishing the Hosen L’Yisrael or Israel Resilience Party.
In mid-January, Mr. Gantz launched his election campaign with the slogan “Israel Before All” as shown on this campaign poster:
Notice that the background colour to the “Israel Before All” slogan is the same olive green colour as used in the IDF uniforms and the white Star of David appears on the Israeli Air Force insignia as shown here:
Here is a posting from his Facebook account from January 2019:
This video which also appears on his Facebook page is accompanied by the following text:
“Only the strong wins the stone. 6,231 targets were destroyed. 1,364 terrorists killed. 3.5 years of quiet. Parts of Gaza have returned to the Stone Age.”
The drone footage was taken in August 2014 after 51 days of assaults against Gaza by the IDF.
This video which shows a Palestinian funeral is accompanied by the following text:
“Only the strong wins the stone. 1,364 Hamas soldiers have been eliminated. 3.5 quiet years in the south.”
In this video, we see the targeted extrajudicial killing of Ahmed al-Jabari, the second in command of the military wing of Hamas. Ahmed al-Jabari was killed on November 14, 2012 by an Israeli drone strike while he was driving in Gaza City. The text in the video states the following:
“Just hold the winner. Chief of Staff Jabari felt safe, Gantz thought otherwise.”
While current polls show that it is highly unlikely that Benny Gantz will win a majority of seats in the Knesset, given Israel’s history of coalition governments, it is highly likely that his newly minted political party will become Gaza’s worst nightmare. On the upside, his track record on Gaza will likely create new friends for him in Washington.
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