Blue and White leader Benny Gantz on Monday announced he would name two senior members of his centrist party as defense and education ministers if he is tasked with forming the next government after Tuesday’s elections.
For defense minister, Gantz said he would choose Gabi Ashkenazi, his predecessor as IDF chief of staff. Gantz credited Ashkenazi with having “rehabilitated” the army after the inconclusive 2006 Second Lebanon War against the Hezbollah terror group.
“Gabi knew how to restore deterrence and the feeling of security to Israeli citizens in the south, the Gaza periphery, the north, and everywhere in Israel,” Gantz said in a statement.
The Blue and White leader said his choice for education minister would be Moshe Ya’alon, who like Gantz and Ashkenazi also once headed the Israeli military and was later defense minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“A beacon of morals and values and someone who knows how to connect all the segments of Israeli society,” Gantz said of Ya’alon.
In addition to promising the education and defense portfolios to members of his party, Gantz also has a rotation agreement with Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid that would see the latter take over as prime minister after two and a half years.
All of these appointments would ultimately depend on the consent of Gantz’s theoretical coalition partners, as no party in Israel has ever won an outright majority of seats in the Knesset.
In the final polls published before Tuesday’s vote, Blue and White was neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Likud’s party, but did not have a clear path to forming a government.