Anyone but Bibi: In Israel, ex-general stirs hope of change

Anyone but Bibi: In Israel, ex-general stirs hope of change
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2019, file photo, retired Israeli military chief Benny Gantz reacts at the official launch of his election campaign for the April 2019 elections, in Tel Aviv. Gantz has burst onto the Israeli political scene as the great hope of the country’s shrinking “peace camp” with a message that is anything but dovish. The retired general, who hopes to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April 9 elections, talks tough. In today’s Israel, his ready-to-rumble rhetoric appears to be the only way to topple the long-serving Netanyahu. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Former military chief Benny Gantz has burst onto Israel’s political scene as the great hope of the country’s shrinking “peace camp” with a message that is anything but dovish.

The retired general, who wants to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April 9 elections, boasts of killing Palestinian militants and aligns himself with political hard-liners. He fires back at Netanyahu’s criticism with scathing counter attacks.

Gantz’s ready-to-rumble rhetoric appears to be the only way to bring down the long-serving Netanyahu. That’s turning him into an unlikely source of hope for Israelis who are troubled by their country’s half-century rule over the Palestinians.

Opinion polls forecast victory for Netanyahu’s Likud Party. But since Gantz’s maiden political speech last month, his new “Israel Resilience” party has emerged as a formidable No. 2.