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Sun Sep 15, 2019, 10:25 AM

Ex-army chief hoping to be Israel's next premier

As former army chief of staff Benny Gantz campaigns to be Israel’s next leader, he is relying less on policy specifics than on the archetypal image of a military man who can rise above the political fray and defend a country that feels perpetually under siege.

Gantz failed to unseat Netanyahu in April’s elections, but will have another shot in Tuesday’s unprecedented do-over, which was prompted by Netanyahu’s inability to form a government.

In contrast to Netanyahu, whose political career spans three decades, the 60-year-old Gantz is a newcomer who only burst onto the scene over the last year. The towering former general heads the Blue and White, a centrist coalition that includes the popular politician Yair Lapid as well as other former senior military officers.

While Netanyahu’s campaign has been marked by dramatic announcements on everything from alleged Iranian nuclear sites to promises to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, Gantz has offered a low-key alternative, betting that voters are hungry for change. He may also hope to tap into nostalgia for past generals-turned-statesmen, like Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.


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