Israel Resilience Party

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Blue and White Israel Resilience Party
כחול לבן חוסן לישראל
LeaderBenny Gantz
Founded27 December 2018
Political positionCentre[1] to centre-right[2]
National affiliationBlue & White (2019–2022)
National Unity (2022–)
Colours  Sky blue[a]
  Navy blue[b]
  White[c]
  Woodland Green[d]
SloganIsrael before everything[3]
Knesset
8 / 120
Website
bg19.co.il

Blue and White Israel Resilience Party (Hebrew: כחול לבן חוסן לישראל, romanizedKaḥol Lavan Hosen LeYisrael, lit.'Blue and White Resilience for Israel')[4][5] is a political party in Israel founded in December 2018 by Benny Gantz, former Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

The party first ran in the April 2019 Knesset elections,[6] as part of the Blue and White alliance. In the 2022 Knesset elections the party ran as part of the National Unity alliance.

History[edit]

On 16 February 2015, Gantz completed his term as Chief of the General Staff and entered a three-year legal cooling-off period in which he could not run for the Knesset. This ended on 2 July 2018.[7] Subsequently, in September 2018, it was reported that Gantz planned to enter politics.[8]

On 26 December 2018, the 20th Knesset voted to dissolve itself and hold early elections. A day later, on 27 December, after 109 people signed a list of founders, the party was officially registered with the name Hosen L'Yisrael.[9]

Telem (the party of former IDF chief of staff and minister of defense Moshe Ya'alon) formed an alliance with the Israel Resilience Party on 29 January 2019.[10]

"Resilience for Israel" logo in the April 2019 Israeli legislative election until the union with Yesh Atid to Blue and White (political alliance).

On 7 February 2019, the party and Telem announced seven candidates who will receive prominent spots on their joint slate: Zvi Hauser, Miki Haimovich, Yoaz Hendel, Hili Tropper, Meirav Cohen, Michael Biton, and Orit Farkash-Hacohen.[11] Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a lawyer and the daughter of former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, will also reportedly be on the list.[12]

On 21 February 2019, the party announced that it was merging with Yesh Atid in order to form a centrist alliance for the upcoming elections.[13] The united slate is called Blue and White.[14] During the April election, Blue and White's coalition won 35 seats, the same number as Likud, but this party was unable to form a new government, and new elections were called for September of the same year.[15] In the contest, the Blue and White won 33 seats in parliament, one more than Likud, but Israeli President Reuven Rivlin first gave Benjamin Netanyahu the chance to form the new government. Netanyahu was unable to form a government and President Rivlin gave the mandate to Gantz to lead the process,[16] but the politician was also unable to close a coalition, so new elections were called for March 2020.[17] Again, the election was marked by the balance, with the two political groups leading the number of votes. After weeks of party negotiations, already in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was finally an agreement to form an "emergency coalition" between Gantz and Netanyahu that provided that Netanyahu would remain in power for only another 18 months, and then Gantz would assume the position of Israeli Prime Minister for at least 18 months.[18] Although the new government was sworn in in May, the Knesset was again dissolved at the end of the year, resulting in the need for new elections for 2021.[19] But the Blue and White coalition did not have a good electoral performance, having won only 8 seats in the Knesset.

The symbol of National Unity (political alliance).

With the call for new elections for 2022, Gantz led a new political alliance called National Unity with the right-wing party New Hope, winning 12 seats in parliament. The group became an opposition to the cabinet formed by Netanyahu until the outbreak of 2023 Israel–Hamas war, in which National Unity joined the Israeli war cabinet.

On 29 August 2023 the party submitted a request to change its name from Israel Resilience Party to Blue and White Israel Resilience.

Ideology and policies[edit]

Benny Gantz at the Sderot Conference for Society, Sapir Academic College, 2015

According to the official registration document handed to the Registrar of Parties on 27 December 2018,[20] the Israel Resilience Party's goals are:

Continuing to establish and strengthen the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in light of the Zionist vision, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, while determining and changing the national priorities on the following subjects: education, national infrastructure development, agriculture, law and internal security, welfare policy, and peace and security.

In his first campaign speech on 29 January 2019, party leader Gantz described Israel as "a leading high-tech country with a low-tech government that is self-employed". He vowed to provide incentives for entrepreneurs and medical students, "impose harsh sanctions on those who speculatively raise land and housing prices", as well as build and expand more hospitals. Furthermore, he said he will create new jobs in the agriculture sector.

Gantz also focused on ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, and combating violence against women. He promised to "deepen my partnerships with the ultra-Orthodox, the Arabs, and the Druze" in establishing a civil service for all, in addition to army service.

Regarding national security, Gantz vowed to "strengthen the settlement blocs and the Golan Heights, from which we will never retreat", also pledging that a "United Jerusalem" will forever remain Israel's capital. He said that the Jordan Valley should remain as the country's eastern security border, without allowing the Palestinians living beyond the separation barrier to "endanger our security and our identity as a Jewish state". He said he will strive for peace, mentioning the treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and commending prime ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and even his current rival Benjamin Netanyahu as "patriots". Gantz personally addressed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that he "will not tolerate a threat to Israeli sovereignty", and warned Hamas leader Ahmed Sinwar, "I suggest you not test me again."[21][22]

According to Gantz, he leans right when it comes to security issues, left when it comes to socio-economic issues, and liberal in his economic goals.[23]

Criticism[edit]

Three victims of alleged sexual abuse criticised the Israel Resilience Party for hiring Ronen Tzur as a strategic advisor. Tzur was the media strategist behind a campaign to block the extradition of Malka Leifer, who faces 74 charges of sex abuse in Melbourne, Australia.[24]

Leaders[edit]

Leader Took office Left office
Benny Gantz 2019 Incumbent

Election results[edit]

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Status
Apr 2019 Benny Gantz with Blue and White
15 / 120
Snap election
Sep 2019
15 / 120
Steady Snap election
2020
15 / 120
Steady Coalition
2021
8 / 120
Decrease 7 Coalition
2022 with National Unity
8 / 120
Steady Opposition

Current MKs[edit]

Year Members Total
2022- Benny Gantz, Gadi Eizenkot, Pnina Tamano-Shata, Hili Tropper, Michael Biton, Matan Kahana, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, Alon Schuster 8

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 2023-
  2. ^ 2023-
  3. ^ 2019-
  4. ^ 2018-2023

References[edit]

  1. ^ "After marathon talks Gantz, Lapid forge alliance in challenge to Netanyahu". The Times of Israel. 21 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Gantz emerges as Bibi's main challenger". Intermountain Jewish News. 14 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Gantz, Lapid, Labor start campaigns with humor". The Jerusalem Post | Jpost.com. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  4. ^ Raoul Wootliff (27 December 2018). "Ex-IDF chief Gantz unveils new political party ahead of April elections". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Benny Gantz, Netanyahu Rival, Gives Campaign Launch Speech - Full English Transcript". Haaretz. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  6. ^ "בני גנץ רשם את מפלגתו החדשה: "חוסן לישראל"". וואלה! חדשות. 27 December 2018. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  7. ^ אנונימית (2 July 2018). "רוץ בני, רוץ: תקופת הצינון של הרמטכ"ל לשעבר תמה". רדיו קול חי.
  8. ^ "החדשות - "בני גנץ החליט להצטרף לפוליטיקה"". mako. 6 September 2018.
  9. ^ List of founders Archived 27 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine The Registrar of Political Parties website (in Hebrew)
  10. ^ Staff (30 January 2019). "Launching bid to replace Netanyahu, Gantz vows to unify Israel, end incitement". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  11. ^ Bachner, Michael (7 February 2019). "Israel Resilience party reveals top picks for Knesset slate". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  12. ^ Gil Hoffman (10 February 2019). "Ex-Canadian minister's daughter running with Ya'alon, Gantz". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  13. ^ "After marathon talks Gantz, Lapid agree party merger in challenge to Netanyahu". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  14. ^ Staff writer. "United Gantz-Lapid party to be called 'Blue and White'; no women in top 6". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Israel goes back to elections as Netanyahu fails to form coalition". The Jerusalem Post. 29 May 2019.
  16. ^ Lis, Jonathan (22 October 2019). "Israeli President to Task Gantz With Forming Government on Wednesday". Haaretz.
  17. ^ "Israel calls another election for March, the third in a year". The Times of Israel. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Netanyahu, Gantz Sign Coalition Deal to Form Government". Haaretz. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  19. ^ Hezki Baruch (22 December 2020). "23rd Knesset dissolved, Israel going to elections". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  20. ^ Request to register a party Archived 27 December 2018 at the Wayback Machine, the Registrar of Political Parties website (in Hebrew)
  21. ^ Benny Gantz. "Benny Gantz, Netanyahu Rival, Gives Campaign Launch Speech - Full English Transcript". Haaretz. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  22. ^ Benny Gantz (30 January 2019). "I believe in hope". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  23. ^ Lahav Harkov (16 February 2019). "Histadrut chief Avi Nissenkorn joins Gantzs Israel Resilience Party". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  24. ^ Magid, Jacob (15 February 2019). "Alleged sex abuser's former PR guru now working for Benny Gantz". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 February 2019.