Gantz, former IDF chief of staff and head of the recently launched political party Hossen L’Yisrael (Strength for Israel) remained silent and avoided expressing his views, or anyone’s views for that matter, and his numbers kept growing as a result, to the point where he was running neck and neck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the polls. But then, on Monday, he spoke, promising a group of Druze dignitaries to change the Nationality Law.
To his rivals on the right, this was rain on a hot August day.
Uzi Dayan (Likud) was beside himself. “Gantz has waited a long time to open his mouth, and the first moment he did it, he chose to attack one of the most important and just laws that finally passed through the last Knesset. It is a basic law that strengthens the Zionist and Jewish values of the State of Israel.”
“We will take care of our Druze brothers in a practical way, not with words,” Dayan said, adding, “The cat is out of the bag. Gantz is a left-winger, and his party is against a strong Israel (a play on the new party’s name). Anyone who wants a responsible, Zionist and experienced leadership must vote for the Likud.”
The Likud party responded, saying, “When Gantz attacks the Nationality Law and Tzipi Livni congratulates him on it, everyone gets the obvious conclusion: Gantz is a left-winger, just like Lapid.”
Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right party came out a few seconds ahead of Likud: “Gantz’s first statement clarifies – he has joined the left.”
Gantz’s meeting with a group of Druze activists and dignitaries at his home in Rosh HaAyin, was intended to show how the former head of the army, which has been home to Druze soldiers for 70 years, can communicate and empathize with Israeli non-Jews. All he has to do now in order to win is show that he can also empathize with Jews.
The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, enacted July 19 by a majority of 62 to 55 with 2 abstaining, establishes the constitutionality of the three historic Zionist principles: the free return of the Jews to the land of our fathers; the free settlement of Jews everywhere in Israel; and the miraculously revived Hebrew as the official language of the Jewish State. Calling these principles racist and part of an apartheid policy is tantamount to attacking the very existence of a Jewish State.
Gantz told his Druze guests that he would do all he can to change the law, to “express the deep and unbreakable ties between the Druze community and the State of Israel not only in battle but also in life, not only in hardship but also in good times.”
All he had to do was stay quiet until April 9, and maybe even afterwards, and the whole country would have voted him in. Now, who knows…
This story includes reporting from TPS.