Former IDF chief viewed as possible alternative for PM Netanyahu

The country is gearing up for early elections after the Parliament in Jerusalem voted to dissolve the current government on the 26th of December. While polling predicts the re-election for Benjamin Netanyahu, with his right-wing Likud party expected to win around 30 of Parliament’s 120 seats, a new candidate in Israel’s political arena is expected to challenge the Prime Minister’s long-term rule. Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who was considered to be one of the most popular military generals during his military commanding tenure, has officially announced his candidacy. His newly established faction, Hosen L’Israel, is expected to win a staggering 16 mandates – second after Netanyahu’s Likud. That said, reports revealed that the former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is holding advanced negotiations with Gantz, on the topic of possibly joining his new faction – a move that political analysts assess “will further boost the mandates Gatz is expected to win.” It is important to note, however, that based on Israel’s political history, popularity shifts dramatically within short time-periods, leaving the outcome of Jerusalem’s future leadership unknown. The date for Israel’s parliamentary elections has been formally set for the 9th of April.