Speakers

MK Lt. Gen. (Res.) Benjamin "Benny" Gantz

Blue & White's Candidate for Prime Minister & Former Chief of Staff, IDF, Israel

Born in 1959 in Kfar Achim, Benjamin (Benny) Gantz served as the

20th Chief of Staff of the IDF, a position he held from 2011-2015.

In the context of a drastically changing Middle East, Gen. Gantz

introduced marked improvement to the IDF‘s ability to contend with

a variety of geo-political threats. He lead the IDF through three

major campaigns: Pillar of Defense (‘Amud Annan‘, November

2012), Operation Brother’s Keeper (‘Shuvu Ahim‘), and Protective

Edge (‘Tzuk Eitan‘, July 2014). During the final campaign, the IDF

successfully eliminated the terror tunnel threat, which was credited

with the relative calm on Israel’s southern border for the following

3.5 years.


Among the milestones of Gen. Gantz’s 38 year-long career in

military service, are his command of the 890 "EF‘E" Airborne

Battalion and the special forces Shaldag Unit. Under his command,

the unit secured ‘Operation Solomon,‘ the covert Israeli military

operation which airlifted more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel over three days in 1991. He further served as commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, and later of the Liaison Unit with Lebanon. Gen. Gantz was the last Israeli soldier to leave Lebanon following Israel’s military presence there until 2000. Between 2000 and 2001, he served as Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, leading the Division during the challenging period of the second Intifada.


After retiring from his long career in army service, Gen. Gantz began directing his time and energies toward strengthening Israel from the inside out, involving himself in a range of social activism projects. He served as chairman of the Yad Ben Gurion Society, dedicated to educational activism in the Negev, and as Chairman of the Advisory Board of NATAL Israeli Trauma and Resilience Center, which offers assistance to Israeli victims of war and terror-related trauma. He further was one of the founding members of “Pnima”, a visionary social program designed to address Israel’s most pressing internal problems and create the infrastructure for a less divided, more cohesive and resilient Israeli society.


After more than 40 years serving the State of Israel and its people, and informed by an intimate familiarity with both its strengths and challenges, in December 2018, in the lead-up to the elections for the 21st Knesset, Gen. Gantz established the Israel Resilience party, crafting, along with his team, a comprehensive platform to promote the interests of the Israeli people.


The party’s platform centers on according priority to education, health and social welfare, and on building a strong economy, while narrowing socio-economic gaps between different sectors of Israeli society. The party is committed to maintaining Israel’s strategic superiority and ensuring its security as it addresses threats from within the Middle East and beyond it.


February 2019, “Israel Resilience” merged with “Telem” and “Yesh Atid”, joining hands under the broader umbrella of “Blue-White,” a platform that includes key figures from Israeli public life, and which is reflective of the full spectrum of Israel’s social sectors.


In the April 2019 elections, “Blue-White” achieved the remarkable feat of clinching 35 Knesset seats, garnering over 1 million votes, and making it the largest political party in the Israeli parliament, only 90 days after launching.


With the quick dissolution of the 21st Knesset following the parliamentary decision to re-launch elections, the party announced that it would jointly contend again under the leadership of Gen. Gantz during the elections for the 22nd Knesset.


Gen. Gantz holds a Master’s degree in National Resource Management from the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at National Defense University in Washington D.C. and holds an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University, which he was awarded in 2015 in recognition of his contributions to Israeli society. He was further awarded a Legion of Merit by the United States Armed Forces in 2013.


Gen. Gantz lives in Rosh HaAyin with his wife, Revital, who is the director of a parenting consultation center. They have four children.

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