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Can Israeli generals undermine Netanyahu's ambition to win 2019 elections?

Saturday 29/December/2018 - 07:01 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Rabea Yehia
Former Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s announcement to establish a new party، named “Israel Resilience Party”، represents an important shift in the Israeli political landscape. 

All polls confirm the competence of the centrist Yesh Atid party to compete with the ruling Likud Party، led by Benjamin Netanyahu، in the general elections scheduled for April 9، 2019.

Gantz’s decision to unveil his political party after the Knesset was resolved in recent days، uncovered the chief of staff’s intention to join the elections race.

Some reports also pointed out that Gantz and party leaders، held intensive meetings with all political spectrums belong either to the current opposition or to Netanyahu’s party.

Most recent opinion polls showed that Gantz’s party is the only one who has the ability to compete with the ruling party in Israe.
According to a poll conducted by the "Maagar Mochot" Institute published Wednesday night found that if the elections were held today، the Likud would win 31 seats.

The poll also found that if former Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz ran in the elections for the 21st Knesset through an independent party headed by himself، the Zionist Union would receive only 7 Knesset seats.

Gantz's new party - even before its platform was presented - would receive 15 seats، according to the poll. the Maagar Mochot Research poll، which published its results on Thursday، and showed Gantz 'ability to garner 15 seats in the next Knesset،، Which according to the poll achieved 31 seats.

The former chief of the Israeli military’s announcement that he run for the upcoming elections under the same list with ex-Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alo، who announced that he، too، is launching his own party.


This will help in the emergence of real rivals to the ruling party after the current opposition parties proved to complete failure to، even overcome its internal differences.

Labor party leader and co-leader of the Zionist Union Avi Gabbay along with Tzipi Livni's Hatnua succeeded in winning 24 seats in March 2015 elections.

However، as a centre-left alliance، they have internal disputes about leadership and other issues. Even though the Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni reached out to Avi Gabbay - chairman of the Labour party - to contest polls together، with Gabbay as their leader - the left has historically had a tough time getting votes in Israel.

All this led to a sharp decline in the Zionist Union’s popularity، which reached only 7 seats in most recent polls. This means that the centrist alliance has become in doubt، but what is certain is that it will not be able to compete with the Likud party in the upcoming elections scheduled for April 2019.

Former Israeli finance minister and media man Yair Lapid، head of the Yes Atid opposition party، which was one of Netanyahu's biggest rivals، has gradually lost his influence and political presence، and is therefore unlikely to appear again in the political arena.

The recent days witnessed some talks over potential disintegration between Gabbay and Tzipi Livni، as the latter considers running for the upcoming elections within another alliance.

It is likely that the Gantz- Ya'alo alliance will be constitute a solid bloc capable of toppling Netanyahu and preventing him from forming a government for the fifth time. 

It is possible that Netanyahu does not want to run for the coming election without real competitors، if true، Gantz- Ya'alo alliance will be recurred test of the Zionist Union، bearing in mind that we are talking about two former army generals، and this may have important implications.

In the meantime، former Israeli defense minister and Prime Minister Ehud Barak may announce his intention to participate in the political life and establish a new party. If Barak does not join Gantz- Ya'alo alliance، the Likud party will win the elections.

Barak's return to the political life will minimize Gantz- Ya'alo alliance’s opportunities to win the elections، as the votes will be dismantled among the three former army generals.

However، it seems that the Likud did not ignore all these incidents. 

The Israeli Channel 10 reported yesterday Friday that an unknown body has hired secret detectives of a private company to collect information about Gantz، stressing that the move aims to exploit the information to discredit him. This means that the right and the extreme right supporters began a bone-breaking fight against Netanyahu's rivals.
Translated by Hassanein Tayea.

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