Despite no political experience and vague policies, the former army chief is a serious election contender

A few short months ago, it appeared to be a done deal. Benjamin Netanyahu was on track to take a fifth term in office at the Israeli general election . A win at the polls would virtually guarantee him the title of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, snatching it from the country’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion.

But then an army general stepped in. “No Israeli leader is king,” Benny Gantz promised as he kicked off his campaign less than three months before Israelis go to the polls. “I thank prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his 10 years of service. We will continue from here.” Gantz, 59, running a centrist party called Blue and White after the Israeli flag, has since climbed rapidly in the polls to become the first serious contender to unseat Netanyahu, 69. The former army chief has no political experience and few concrete policies, but hopes to appeal to voters on one basis more than any other: that he is not Netanyahu.

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