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Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz (cropped).jpg
Vice Prime Minister of Israel
Assumed office
17 May 2020
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Office established
Moshe Ya'alon
Speaker of the Knesset
In office
26 March 2020 – 17 May 2020
Preceded by Yuli Edelstein
Succeeded by Yariv Levin
20th Chief of the General Staff
In office
14 February 2011 – 16 February 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Gabi Ashkenazi
Succeeded by Gadi Eizenkot
Personal details
Born 9 June 1959 (1959-06-09) (age 61)
Kfar Ahim, Israel
Spouse(s) Revital
Children 4
Alma mater Tel Aviv University
University of Haifa
National Defense University
Military service
Allegiance  Israel
Branch/service Flag of the Israel Defense Forces.svg Israel Defense Forces
Years of service 1977–2015
Rank Rav Aluf
Unit Paratroopers Brigade
Commands
  • 890 "Efe" (Echis) Airborne Battalion (1987–1989)
  • Shaldag Unit (1989–1992)
  • Reserve Paratroopers Brigade (1992–1994)
  • Judea Regional Brigade (1994–1995)
  • Paratroopers Brigade (1995–1997)
  • "Etgar" Division (1998–1999)
  • Lebanon Liaison Unit (1999–2000)
  • Northern Corps (2001), Judea and Samaria Division (2000–2002)
  • Northern Command (2002–2005)
  • Ground Forces Command (2005–2007)
  • Military Attaché in the United States (2007–2009)
  • Deputy Chief of General Staff (2009–2010)
  • Chief of the General Staff (2011–2015)
Battles/wars
  • 1978 South Lebanon conflict
  • 1982 Lebanon War
  • South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
  • First Intifada
  • Second Intifada
  • 2006 Lebanon War
  • Operation Summer Rains
  • Operation Cast Lead
  • Operation Pillar of Defense
  • Operation Protective Edge
Awards Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Knessets 21, 22, 23
Faction represented in Knesset
2019- Blue and White (Resilience)

Benjamin "Benny" Gantz (Hebrew: בנימין "בני" גנץ‎‎; born 9 June 1959) is an Israeli politician and general. In March 2020, Gantz was elected Speaker of the Knesset. He was the 20th Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 14 February 2011 to 16 February 2015. In May 2020, he became the Vice Prime Minister of Israel.

Gantz is scheduled to become Prime Minister on 17 November 2021.

Early life

Gantz was born in Kfar Ahim, Israel, in 1959. His mother Malka was a Holocaust survivor. His father was arrested by the British authorities for trying to enter Palestine illegally. His parents were among the founders of Moshav Kfar Ahim, a cooperative agricultural community in south-central Israel.

He has a bachelor's degree in history from Tel Aviv University, a master's degree in political science from the University of Haifa, and an additional master's degree in National Resources Management from the National Defense University in the United States.

Chief of the General Staff

On 13 February 2011, the Israeli government unanimously approved Gantz to be the next IDF chief of staff. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that Gantz was an "excellent officer and experienced commander, and had rich operational and logistical experience, with all the attributes needed to be a successful army commander".

In his first year as Chief of the General Staff, Gantz appointed the IDF's first-ever female major-general, Orna Barbivai.

In July 2011, Gantz appointed a special committee to talk about a controversy that had started after a concerning mention of the word Elohim, "God", in the military Yizkor prayer. The committee determined that a passage should read Yizkor 'Am Yisrael, "May the Nation of Israel remember", and not Yizkor Elohim, "May God remember". Gantz supported the committee's ruling.

Gantz commanded the IDF when it fought against Palestinian factions in Gaza and Operation Protective Edge.

Business career

Gantz was the chairman of the Fifth Dimension which specialized in tracking via smartphone spyware. The company closed due to financial reasons.

Party founder

In December 2018, he created a new political party named Israel Resilience (Hosen L'Yisrael). The party later merged with Telem and Yesh Atid to form Kachol Lavan.

2020 election

On 20 April 2020, Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu announced an agreement on a unity government had been reached following the 2020 legislative election. The deal would involve both parties splitting power and Gantz and Netanyahu taking turns being prime minister. The deal says Gantz will be Vice Prime Minister until October 2021, by then he will become Prime Minister.

Knesset speaker

On 26 March 2020, Gantz was elected as Knesset speaker, replacing Likud's Yuli-Yoel Edelstein who resigned. He vowed that he would not serve under 'corrupt leader' who faces criminal charges.

Netanyahu government

On 17 May 2020, Gantz became Defense Minister and also Vice Prime Minister in the Fifth Netanyahu Government.

Personal life

Gantz is married to Revital, with whom he has four children. He lives in Rosh HaAyin.


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