Gantz was drafted into the IDF in 1977. He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade ,and in 1979 became an officer after completing officer's training school.
During his career Gantz has served in a number of different roles, including Commander of Paratrooper Regiment, Commander of the GOC Northern Command's Reserves Division, and Commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit. Gantz was the last to serve in this role and the last officer to leave Lebanon during Israel's withdrawal in 1999.
Gantz during a Golani exercise (Photos: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
In 2000 Gantz was promoted to the position of Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, after which he became Commander of the Israeli Northern Command in 2001. In 2005 he took command of the Ground Forces, a position he served in until 2007, when he was named Israel's military attaché to the United States. He returned to Israel in 2009 following a request from the defense minister to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff.
In February 2011 he became Israel's 20th Chief of Staff and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Gantz earned several degrees during his military service: He is a graduate of the IDF Command and Headquarters College and the National Security College. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in History from Tel Aviv University, a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Haifa, and a second Master's Degree in National Resources Management from the National Defense University in the United States.
His promotion to Chief of Staff came in the aftermath of the controversial cancellation of the appointment of a previous nominee – General Yoav Galant to the role.
Gantz In the field
The Second Intifada erupted while Gantz served as Commander of the Judea-Samaria Division. Corporal Madhat Yusuf, a nineteen-year-old Border Guard policeman, was stationed at the time at Joseph's Tomb near Nablus. Rather than send in Israeli rescue forces, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak arranged for the Palestinian Authority to evacuate Yusuf to safety. Despite agreeing to the arrangement, Palestinian security forces failed to arrive, and Yusuf bled to death after four hours.
Since the incident, relatives and friends of Corporal Yusuf have demanded that various individuals be held accountable for what they consider to have been a preventable disaster.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz is married to Revital and a father to four children – Noam, Nir, Nadav and Noga.