Gantz’s political capital is leverage, will it take him to the top?


After three days of headlines about opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu considering an offer of a four-year prime ministerial post to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, the defense minister could have cut news in the news. egg when he was interviewed on Channel 13’s prime-time newscast on Saturday night. . But that’s far from what he did.

Reports indicated that Netanyahu would propose a constructive vote of no confidence in the government with Gantz as the candidate for prime minister for the remainder of the current Knesset term, which is expected to end in November 2025.

Netanyahu himself would be enough to be deputy prime minister, a more symbolic title or foreign minister if the law prohibiting those charged from serving as minister was changed.

Gantz could have told interviewer Ayala Hasson that he has no interest in bringing Likud back to government, that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is its leader and that the current coalition would complete its term, period. He could have ruled out any future cooperation with Netanyahu.

But he did not do it.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU leaves the podium at the Knesset, August 2, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

“I still see myself on my way to becoming prime minister,” Gantz said. “But I work for the current government. It is important that as long as it serves the interests of citizens, we have an interest in staying there. “

This statement leaves a lot to analyze.

First, by saying that he retains his aspiration to be prime minister, Gantz insists on remaining an actor for the post of prime minister in future elections and refuses to abdicate the leadership of his political camp to the foreign minister. Yair Lapid or whoever.

He referred to the “current government” in a way that made it appear temporary.

And last but not least, he conditioned his party’s support for the government on an amorphous condition of “serving the interests of the citizens”, as he will define them in the future.

When politicians with a strong right or left agenda, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) or anti-Haredi leader, or an Arab MP makes such a statement, it is easier to understand what it means. With Gantz, who knows?

The answer is, no one knows, including Gantz himself, who can’t predict how he will feel in the future.

Meanwhile, the reports and his response give Gantz a valuable resource in politics: leverage.

Gantz can try to use that leverage to get anything he wants, from massive pensions for IDF officers to writing yeshiva students, to his confidant Omer Yankelevich becoming the very first president of the army. ‘Jewish Agency.

Without leverage, Gantz would be very limited in what he could do. Bennett, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and, worse yet, Lapid could trample him.

This is Gantz’s game. The months to come will determine whether he emerges victorious.

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