'Arab states' priming Gantz as potential next Israel PM: report

'Arab states' priming Gantz as potential next Israel PM: report
Senior officials from Arab countries are holding talks with former Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz, an Arab diplomatic source reportedly said.
2 min read
05 February, 2024
Benny Gantz is a minister in Israel's war cabinet and a potential next prime minister for the country [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP/Getty-archive]

Arab countries have reached out to Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, believing him to be the best candidate to replace current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to reports.

Arab states have reportedly lost confidence in Netanyahu whose handling of the Gaza war and rejection of a two-state solution has been widely condemned, and looking for more responsible partners in the Israeli political system.

Israel's Kan public broadcaster on Sunday cited an Arab diplomatic source saying that Arab officials had spoken to Gantz during Israel's war on Gaza - which has so far killed 27,365 people - and view him as the "responsible adult" in the Israeli government who has managed to curb the reckless exceesses of the far right.

The source indicated a lack of confidence among Arab countries in the current Israeli government led by Netanyahu, making Gantz - who heads the centre-right National Unity party - the focus of their attention.

Arab officials have been following Israeli opinion polls with "interest" with a recent survey for Israeli newspaper Maariv showing that if an election took place now, Netanyahu's Likud Party and his allies would fall short of a majority in Israel's 120-seat parliament, winning just 46 seats, while the opposition would take 74.

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Israel has waged war on Gaza since 7 October, launching a ground operation some three weeks later and a full siege on the enclave.

Since the ground offensive began, at least 225 Israeli troops have been killed.

Residential buildings, hospitals, and ambulances in Gaza have been destroyed during Israel's war with the International Court of Justice saying last month that Israel was plausibly breaching the Genocide Convention in the enclave.

A 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian militants killed around 1,160 people, a tally by AFP using official data showed.