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Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz 2019 (cropped).jpg
Gantz in 2019
1st Alternate Prime Minister of Israel
In office
17 May 2020 – 13 June 2021
President Reuven Rivlin
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Yair Lapid
Ministerial roles
2020– Minister of Defense
2021 Minister of Justice
2021– Deputy Prime Minister
Faction represented in the Knesset
2019–2022 Blue and White
2022– National Unity
Military roles
2011–2015 Chief of the General Staff
Other roles
2020 Speaker of the Knesset
Personal details
Benjamin Gantz

(1959-06-09) 9 June 1959 (age 64)
Kfar Ahim, Israel
Political party Blue and White (2019–present)
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
  • 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)
  • 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)

Benjamin Gantz (Hebrew: בִּנְיָמִין "בֵּנִי" גַּנְץ, Transliterated: Binyāmīn "Bēnī" Ganṣ; born 9 June 1959) is an Israeli politician and retired army general serving as the minister of Defense since 2020 and deputy prime minister of Israel since 2021. He previously served as the alternate prime minister of Israel from 2020 to 2021.

He served as the 20th chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2011 to 2015. In December 2018, he entered politics by establishing a new political party named Israel Resilience. The party later allied itself with Telem and Yesh Atid to form Blue and White (Hebrew: Kaḥol Lavan), the colours of the Israeli national flag. Gantz's Blue and White alliance platform includes introducing prime ministerial term limits, barring indicted politicians from serving in the Knesset, amending the nation-state law to include Israeli minorities, limiting the power of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel over marriages, investing in early education, expanding health care, and re-entering negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for a peace agreement.

Gantz was the 17th Speaker of the Knesset from 26 March 2020 to 17 May 2020. On 20 April 2020, Gantz agreed to join a rotation government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the terms of the agreement, Gantz would serve as Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, before succeeding Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel in November 2021. However, the coalition collapsed, resulting in another election in 2021. As defense minister, Gantz was in charge of Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza. In June 2021, he was reappointed Defense Minister and became Deputy Prime Minister.


Benjamin Gantz was born in Kfar Ahim, Israel, in 1959. His mother Malka was a Holocaust survivor, originally from Mezőkovácsháza, Hungary. His father Nahum came from Sovata, Székely Land, Romania, and was arrested by the British authorities for trying to enter Palestine illegally, before reaching Israel. His parents were among the founders of Moshav Kfar Ahim, a cooperative agricultural community in south-central Israel. In his youth, he attended the Shafir High School in Merkaz Shapira, and boarding school at the HaKfar HaYarok youth village in Ramat HaSharon.

Gantz is a graduate of the IDF Command and Staff College and the National Security College. He holds 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. Gantz is married to Revital, with whom he has four children. He lives in Rosh HaAyin.

In February 2011, following the government decision to promote Gantz to Chief of the General Staff, Attorney Avi'ad Vissuli of the Forum for the Land of Israel unsuccessfully petitioned to revoke the appointment.

In February 2019, an Israeli-American woman accused Gantz of exposing himself to her 40 years earlier, causing her traumatic disorders. Gantz denied all allegations, claiming that such an incident never took place, and that the allegations were politically motivated. Gantz has since sued the woman for defamation.

Military career

Gantz was drafted into the IDF in 1977. He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade. His first mission as a young conscript in 1977 was as part of the security detail for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel. As a paratrooper, he fought in Operation Litani in March 1978 and also participated in a June 1978 raid against a Fatah training base in Lebanon. In 1979, Gantz became an officer after completing Officer Candidate School. He returned to the Paratroopers Brigade and served as a platoon leader and company commander, completed a course in the U.S. Army Special Forces, and fought in the First Lebanon War.

Later on, he led 890 "Efe" (Echis) paratroop battalion in counter-guerrilla operations in the South Lebanon security zone. In 1991, he commanded the commando unit that was on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for 36 hours, securing the Operation Solomon airlift of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. He served in senior command positions during the Second Intifada and Second Lebanon War.

In the course of his military career, Gantz served as commander of the Shaldag Unit in the Israeli Air Force; commander of the 35th Paratroopers Brigade; commander of the Reserves Division in the Northern Command; commander of the Lebanon Liaison Unit; commander of the Judea and Samaria Division in 2000, before becoming the commander of the Israeli Northern Command in 2001; and as Israel's military attaché in the United States from 2005 until 2009, before becoming the deputy chief of the General Staff.

Chief of staff

Benny Gantz, Chief of General Staff
Gantz as Chief of General Staff

Following the canceled appointment of previous nominee Aluf Yoav Galant, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced on 5 February 2011 that he would be recommending to the government that Gantz be appointed the 20th Chief of the General Staff (after the pending approval by the Turkel Advisory Committee on Senior Appointments and a government vote). Gantz had already been in the process of an honorable discharge from his army service.

On 13 February 2011, the Israeli government unanimously approved Gantz to be the next IDF chief of staff. According to The Jerusalem Post, 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".

On 14 February 2011, Gantz returned to the IDF and assumed command as the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He served for the required three years and was nominated for a fourth year, which he agreed to fulfill, followed by retirement.

Benny Gantz in fire practice area at Golan Heights, September 2012. I
Gantz in fire practice area, Golan Heights, 2012

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 address a controversy that had developed concerning mention of the word Elohim, "God", in the military Yizkor prayer. The committee determined that a disputed passage should read Yizkor 'Am Yisrael, "May the Nation of Israel remember", and not Yizkor Elohim, "May God remember". Gantz upheld the committee's ruling.

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

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey meets with Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz (right) meets with General Martin Dempsey (left), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, 2012
Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Chief of Staff Makes a Surprise Visit to Training Bases
Benny Gantz conducting a surprise visit to training bases as Chief of Staff, 2011

Business career

Gantz was the chairman of the Fifth Dimension, a computer security and law enforcement technology company, which specialized in tracking via smartphone spyware. The company closed due to financial reasons, after its Russian investor Viktor Vekselberg was sanctioned under CAATSA by the United States during the Special Counsel investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the US election, led by Robert Mueller.


Awards and decorations

Lebanon war ribbon.svg Lebanon2ribon.svg Protective Edge Operation ribbon.svg Security Zone in Lebanon Campaign Ribbon. X (cropped).jpg US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png
First Lebanon War Ribbon
Second Lebanon War Ribbon
Operation Protective Edge Ribbon
Security Zone in Lebanon Ribbon
Commander of the Legion of Merit

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Benny Gantz para niños

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