'Join me and we will take a new path together'

Gantz launches ‘Israel before all’ campaign with social media blitz

Ex-IDF chief reveals khaki green Israel Resilience party logo, invites public to join him ‘because it should be different, it can be different and we will make it different’

Raoul Wootliff is the producer and occasional host of the Times of Israel Daily Briefing podcast.

The Israel Resiliance party logo including the slogan 'Israel before everything.' (Israel Resilience)
The Israel Resiliance party logo including the slogan 'Israel before everything.' (Israel Resilience)

After weeks of near-silence on his new party’s political platform, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz on Thursday unleashed a social media blitz as the “first step” in his election campaign.

In his first video, Gantz poked fun at himself for saying very little about his political views — while saying very little.

Unveiling a party slogan of “Israel before all,” with a color scheme of military khaki, Gantz gave the first, albeit limited, glimpse into the sort of election campaign he hopes to run.

The first Facebook post of the Israel Resilience party campaign included a video of Gantz inviting his followers on social media to join him, saying: “I put Israel before everything. Join me and we will take a new path together. Because it should be different, it can be different and we will make it different.”

At the end of the clip, the taciturn party leader jokes, “I think I’ve said too much.”

A spokesperson for the party would not say when Gantz plans to give a first public address, but told The Times Israel that the release of the video and establishment of social media channels were the “first step” of the campaign.

In addition to the Facebook page, the party also launched Twitter and Instagram accounts.

On Monday, Gantz gave the first indication of his largely unknown political views, breaking his silence with a vow to “fix” the controversial nation-state law to help the Druze community.

Speaking to Druze activists who congregated outside his home in Rosh Ha’ayin to say that the law is discriminatory toward the country’s non-Jews, Gantz said that Israel should work to strengthen bonds with its Druze community, which he said was a valued segment of Israeli society.

“I will do everything in my power to act to fix the law,” he said to the activists, who had visited his house as part of a nationwide tour meant to raise awareness of Druze opposition to the law ahead of a High Court hearing on the legislation later this month.

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz seen with members of the Druze community and activists outside his home in Rosh Ha’ayin, during a protest against the nation-state law, January 14, 2019. (Flash90)

The nation-state law enshrines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people” and says “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” Critics, both at home and abroad, say it undermines Israel’s commitment to equality for all its citizens. It has prompted particular outrage from Israel’s Druze minority, whose members — many of whom serve in the Israeli army — say the law’s provisions render them second-class citizens.

Gantz, who is seen as one of the only possible threats to a Netanyahu victory in the April 9 elections, said that amending the law would “express the connection [between the Druze community and the State of Israel], a deep and unbreakable connection not only in battle, but also in life. We have a blood pact, but more than that, we have a life alliance.”

To the cheers of the protesters, he promised: “We’ll do it together.”

Gantz formally launched his Israel Resilience party late last month, but has been largely mum on his positions.

The only other recent indication of the political direction that Gantz is facing came on the Israel Resilience’s party registration form, which said it would seek “continued development and strengthening of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state according to the Zionist vision as it is expressed in the Declaration of Independence, while establishing and changing national priorities in the fields of education, development of national infrastructure, agriculture, rule of law and internal security, peace and security.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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