Gantz Turns Down Invitation to Join Labor

Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. (Flash90)

Three days after the government announced it was calling new Knesset elections, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has still not declared his electoral intentions – but one thing he will not be doing is joining Zionist Camp. According to Hadashot News, Gantz turned down an offer by party chairperson Avi Gabay to join as his number two.

The reason for Gantz’s reluctance, according to the report, is because of advice Gantz has received regarding joining up with Labor – just don’t do it. “He was told that Labor is a hornets nest that no one has yet returned alive from,” commentators said on Hadashot News. “The infighting among party members was enough to scare him off.” In addition, they said, Gantz wants to be seen as an independent and a hawk on security issues – and is thus avoiding joining up with parties and individuals who have dovish reputations.

In line with that, Channel Ten reported that Tzipi Livni, head of the opposition and the ranking sitting Knesset member of Zionist Camp, has warned Gabay that he may not be chairperson of the party much longer. Gabay, who is not an MK, is presiding over a party that, according to polls, will get barely 10 seats in the upcoming elections, a major comedown from the 24 seats it currently has. At a speech in Herzliya Tuesday, Livni said, hinting at Gabay, “I believe that these elections are the opportunity for a revolution. Every one of us must put their ego aside in order to accomplish the greater goal.” Livni suggested a broad coalition of anti-Netanyahu forces under one leadership umbrella. “All those who are part of our cause must join together, and be prepared to concede in order to achieve the goal.”

With that, said the commentators, Gantz’s decision should not be seen as final. “Starting a party – getting a list together, working out an order of seniority, and taming all the egos that are likely to gather seeking a spot on the list – takes a great deal of work, and Gantz has barely a month to get everything together in order to qualify to run his party. Once he sees how much work it is, be may change his mind.”