Bennett’s Chief of Staff Steps Down in Latest Coalition Trouble

Tal Gan-Zvi, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Chief of Staff, arrives to a Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Yerushalayim last week. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In another sign of the trouble in the coalition, Tal Gan-Zvi, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s longtime chief of staff, announced on Monday that he will be stepping down after a year in the role.

Gan-Zvi’s resignation comes just a week after Bennett’s diplomatic adviser Shimrit Meir stepped down.

Gan-Zvi played a key role in trying to advance a right-wing agenda in the government and was key in keeping the Yamina party together.

He played an important role in advancing key government reforms across ministries and developed a reputation as a serious professional, known for being discreet and effective in cutting through bureaucracy.

Gan-Zvi was part of the right-wing flank in the government that tried to keep Bennett aligned with his longtime political base. On the other side was Meir, who tried to move Bennett to the center-left. Gan-Zvi was the ultimate loyalist to Bennett and served at his side since 2012.

Prior to that, he worked for Nir Barkat during Barkat’s stint as mayor of Yerushalayim. In 2015, when Bennett became education minister, Gan-Zvi was at his side, given almost exclusive authority to implement his boss’s policies.

He led the break-off from the Jewish Home party and the establishment of the New Right party in 2019, and continued to serve as Bennett’s top adviser and close confidant during the four rounds of election and played a key role in the formation of the new government.

Bennett thanked Gan-Zvi for his service and many years of partnership. “Since I entered politics, Tal was one of the pillars at my side in public service at all of my different stops along the way,” Bennett said. “I want to thank him for the many years for service during which he accompanied me professionally and loyally with amazing effectiveness and hard work, around the clock.”

Bennett said that he received the news “with sadness but understanding.”

“Tal’s wisdom and management capabilities were a precious asset for me and I am confident that whatever he does he will succeed,” the Prime Minister said.

Gan-Zvi said that it was a privilege to work over the last decade with a “dedicated public servant who cares about the State of Israel and which is always at the top of his agenda.”

He thanked the Prime Minister for the opportunities and challenges over the last few years and said that “after a decade of intense partnership and work and a year in the challenging job of chief of staff, I asked to step down in the near future and pursue new opportunities.”

In another sign of coalition dysfunction, MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, who returned to the coalition after briefly quitting, did not return to the Meretz faction meeting in the Knesset on Monday, N12 reported.

Zoabi, a Meretz MK, agreed to rejoin following talks led by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday, in which promises were made to keep promises made to the Arab community of billions of shekels in socio-economic funding.

It was also agreed that from now on Zoabi will deal only with Lapid rather than her party leader, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, according to the report.

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