Photo: Motti Kimchi
Benny Gantz with Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Asad
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Sima Kadmon

Gantz speaks, and the right goes wild

Opinion: Benny Gantz's choice to make his first public political comments about the Nation-State Law, on which there's near consensus, could have been his way to ambush the right. Or maybe we're just putting too much meaning into it.

Is it too much to ask for someone who is running in the elections that will take place in less than three months to present his positions to us? To try to understand why the polls are predicting that a man who has yet to open his mouth will be get the number of Knesset seats that could change the political landscape in Israel?



And then it happened. It was just a regular day—without fireworks, or a press conference with promises to bring the smiles back to Israel's streets, and even without the mantra chanted by anyone who seeks to bring down the Likud government ("Netanyahu is dangerous to Israel").


Fifty seconds. That is how long Benny Gantz allowed himself to spoil us with a comment on a hot-button issue. And that is exactly how long it took him to inflame the right.


Benny Gantz with Druze protesters outside his home (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Benny Gantz with Druze protesters outside his home (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

The reactions were so predictable and prepared-in-advance, that it appears it didn't matter what topic Gantz chose to address—be it the Nation-State Law or the weather—the response would have been the same: Gantz is a leftist.


From the New Right Party leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked to the Likud Party Ministers Ze'ev Elkin, Yariv Levin, Avi Dichter and Miri Regev—all of them sounded on Monday like part of a Greek chorus weeping at the moment of catharsis.


So much fear toward someone who has yet to even present his candidacy; so much insecurity in these reactions to such a predictable and obvious statement.


What did they expect, for Gantz to not express solidarity with the Druze community? Find me one senior officer who wouldn't have done the exact same thing as Gantz, who wouldn't have said on such an occasion that there is room to improve upon the law that so deeply offends our Druze brothers.


Even Bennett, immediately after the vote on the Nation-State Law, apologized to the Druze community and said there's room to amend the law. So why is he jumping for joy at the chance to attack Gantz?


Benny Gantz with Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Asad (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Benny Gantz with Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Asad (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


On the other hand, it is rather amusing to see center-left parties vying for Gantz's attention, rushing to his defense, identifying with his position and trying to outdo one another in the process.


What is clear is that this move of introducing the "Talking Gantz" was planned in a way that ensured the first words the former IDF chief spoke were under these particular circumstances. Gantz knew a delegation of Druze protesters planned to arrive at his home. He had enough time to plan what he would say on that occasion. It is quite possible that Gantz's strategic advisor, Itay Ben-Horin, is behind this—his firm also accompanies the Druze struggle, which is headed by Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Asad.


So this could have been a brilliant move by Gantz's advisors, who set up an ambush for the right on such a loaded topic, the kind the majority of the public identifies with and recognizes the commitment to and solidarity with the Druze people.


In other words: Gantz's first public comment was done on a topic that has a near consensus, but also has the potential to rile up the right (and it worked).


And maybe it's just us who are putting too much meaning in those 50 seconds featuring the star of the elections, the man who was quiet for so long—until he spoke. And just like everything else that we've been waiting for for so long and therefore exaggerate—it doesn't really matter what he said, as long as he said something.


פרסום ראשון: 01.15.19, 20:11
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