Generals to the Rescue: What’s Behind Israeli Public’s Obsession With Chiefs of Staff in Politics?

Following the shrinking power of the Blue and White party, that aimed at replacing Netanyahu but failed, many Israelis became disillusioned with the generals’ ability to bring about much-awaited change, thinks a former politician. But the hunger for another Messiah, who’d topple the current PM, hasn’t subsided.

Up until recently, Israel’s former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot was the hope of the country’s liberal circles, who had prayed he would enter politics. Up until then, they were certain that his entrance to the political arena will challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pave the way for his replacement.

At the end of December, however, those hopes have come crashing down, with Eisenkot announcing he would not run in the upcoming parliamentarian race set for 23 March.

Obsession with Generals

But the hunger of Israel’s liberal circles for army generals or people with relevant military background has not ceased.

Mossi Raz, a former member of the Knesset for Meretz, an Israeli party associated with left-wing circles that promotes notions of equality and speaks in favour of the two-state solution, says that the obsession with generals is largely attributed to the idea that only they can bring the country’s liberals a much-awaited victory in the elections.

For many Israelis, who have gone through two Intifadas and who have seen multiple wars and terrorist attacks, the factor of security is paramount. 

In 2019, for example, a survey showed that 30 percent of the…

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