Benjamin "Benny" Gantz (Hebrew: בנימין "בני" גנץ; born
June 9, 1959) is an Israeli General, and was the 20th Chief of General
Staff of the
Israel Defense Forces (February 14, 2011 – February 16,
1 Military service
1.1 Chief of Staff
2.1 Building on public land allegations
2.2 Role in the death of Corporal Madhat Yusuf
Gantz was born in Kfar Ahim, Israel, in 1959. His mother is a
Holocaust survivor, originally from Mezőkovácsháza, Hungary.
Gantz was drafted into the IDF in 1977. He volunteered as a
paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade, and in 1979 became an officer
after completing Officer Candidate School. During his career Gantz has
served in a number of roles, including: Commander of the Shaldag Unit
in the Israeli Air Force, Commander of the 35th Paratroopers
Brigade, Commander of the Reserves Division in the Northern
Command, Commander of the
Lebanon Liaison Unit, Commander of the Judea
and Samaria Division in 2000, before becoming the Commander of the
Israeli Northern Command
Israeli Northern Command in 2001, and as Israel's military attaché in
United States from 2005 until 2009 before becoming the Deputy
Chief of the General Staff.
Gantz has received a number of degrees during his military service. He
is a graduate of the IDF Command and Headquarters College and the
National Security College. He holds a bachelor's degree in history
Tel Aviv University, a master's degree in political science from
the University of Haifa, and an additional Master's Degree in National
Resources Management from the
National Defense University
National Defense University in the
Chief of Staff
Following the canceled appointment of previous nominee
Galant, Defense Minister
Ehud Barak announced on 5 February 2011 that
he will be recommending to the government that Gantz be appointed the
20th Chief of the General Staff (after the pending approval by the
Turkel Advisory Committee on Senior Appointments and a government
On 13 February 2011, the Israeli government unanimously approved Gantz
to be the next IDF chief of staff. According to the Jerusalem Post,
Benjamin Netanyahu stated in the weekly Cabinet meeting
in Jerusalem that Gantz was an "excellent officer and experienced
commander and had rich operational and logistical experience, with all
the attributes needed to be a successful army commander".
On February 14, 2011, Gantz assumed command as the Chief of Staff of
Israel Defense Forces.
In his first year as Chief of the General Staff, Gantz appointed the
IDF's first-ever female major-general, Orna Barbivai.
In July 2011, Gantz appointed a special committee to address a
controversy that had developed concerning mention of the word Elohim,
"God," in the military
Yizkor prayer. The committee determined that a
disputed passage should read
Yizkor 'Am Yisrael, "May the Nation of
Israel remember," and not
Yizkor Elohim, "May God remember". Gantz
upheld the committee's ruling.
Gantz has called on the IDF to be ready for a new ground invasion of
Gantz commanded the IDF when it fought against Hamas and other
Palestinian forces in Gaza in the campaigns Operation Pillar of
Defense and Operation Protective Edge.
Building on public land allegations
Benny Gantz visits Southern Command on August 19, 2011, following the
Israel cross-border attacks
A report in the Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom from March 2010 charged
Gantz with illegally extending the perimeter of his yard by several
feet to encompass a small plot of land that had been designated public
property and subsequently building on it. "The Deputy Chief of the
General Staff, Major General Benny Gantz, invaded a public land area
adjacent to his home in Rosh HaAyin, illegally and without a permit
and a license constructed a nice and wide deck on public land next to
his house's yard, enclosed it with a pretty wooden fence - and broke
the law." The report included photos of the alleged violations. Gantz
admitted to the facts but claimed that the public land in question was
not and could not be accessible for use by the public. Two months
after town hall officials notified him of the violation, the deck was
disassembled and removed.
Chief of General Staff
Benny Gantz trains with soldiers at a
Paratrooper Exercise, 18 May 2011
Chief of Staff, LTG
Benny Gantz embracing
Gilad Shalit upon his return
from captivity, 18 October 2011
In February 2011, following the government's decision to promote Gantz
to Chief of the General Staff, Attorney Avi'ad Vissuli of the Forum
for the Land of
Israel submitted a formal objection to Attorney
Yehuda Weinstein and to Judge Ya'akov Turkel, demanding that
the appointment be revoked. Vissuli compared the violations attributed
to Gantz to the controversial property violations of Major General
Role in the death of Corporal Madhat Yusuf
Second Intifada erupted while Gantz served as Commander of the
Judea-Samaria Division. Corporal Madhat Yusuf, a nineteen-year-old
Border Guard policeman, was stationed at the time at
Joseph's Tomb in
present-day Nablus. On 1 October 2000, an armed Palestinian group
attacked the tomb, and Yusuf suffered a gunshot wound to the neck from
a Palestinian sniper. Rather than send in Israeli rescue forces, Ehud
Barak, who was Prime Minister and Minister of Defense at the time,
instructed Chief of the General Staff
Shaul Mofaz to arrange for the
Palestinian Authority to evacuate Yusuf to safety. Despite agreeing to
the arrangement, Palestinian security forces failed to arrive, and
Yusuf bled to death after four hours.
Since the incident, relatives and friends of Corporal Yusuf have
demanded that various individuals be held accountable for what they
consider to have been a preventable tragedy. Early in February 2011,
Yusuf's family told reporters they were considering filing a petition
with the Supreme Court to challenge the planned appointment of Gantz
to Chief of the General Staff.
The Turkel Committee charged with reviewing Gantz's qualifications
vis-a-vis his planned appointment to Chief of the General Staff
determined that Gantz "was not the most senior ranking commander at
the scene, and there were operational as well as political
considerations involved in the incident for which he was not
^ a b "Lt. Gen.
Benny Gantz Appointed 20th IDF Chief of the General
Israel Defense Forces. 14 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February
^ a b
Haaretz Service (14 February 2011). "Gantz takes over as IDF
chief: I am ready to face the challenges". Haaretz. Retrieved 14
Israel commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day,
^ In Auschwitz, Israeli army chief vows to prevent a ‘second
Holocaust’, The Times of
^ Avihai Becker, Generally Sensitive, Haaretz, April 24, 2002.
^ a b "New Deputy Chief of the General Staff Appointed" (Press
release). IDF Spokesperson's Website. 12 July 2009. Archived from the
original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
^ "IDF chief announces new appointments to General Staff" from
Haaretz[permanent dead link] Google cache version
^ Greenberg, Hanan (5 February 2011). "Gantz set to be named 20th IDF
chief". Ynet. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
^ Ravid, Barak (13 February 2011). "Benny Gatz becomes IDF's 20th
chief of staff". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
^ Keinon, Herb (13 February 2011). "Gantz appointment as IDF chief
sails through cabinet". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
^ "Newly Appointed Head of the Personnel Directorate, GOC Northern
Command, GOC Home Front Command". IDF Spokesperson's Unit. 26 March
2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011. Brig. Gen. Orna Barbivay will be promoted
to the rank of Major General and appointed Head of the Personnel
Directorate, replacing Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, who will end his service
in the IDF.
^ "Israeli military appoints first female major general". Monsters and
Critics. Tel Aviv. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 26 May 2011. Archived from
the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011. The Israel
Defense Forces (IDF) has promoted the first female major general in
its 63-year history, a military spokesman announced Thursday
^ Katz, Yaakov (4 August 2011). "IDF panel keeps God out of Yizkor
prayer". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 August 2011. The IDF will retain
the original wording of the
Yizkor memorial prayer with "
Yisrael" (May the People of
Israel Remember), and not "
(May God Remember), a military committee tasked with ruling on the
issue announced on Thursday.
^ "Gantz: Chances of War Breaking Out are Low, but Probability of
Deterioration is rising."
Israel 'will launch significant Gaza offensive sooner or later'."
^ Yossi Arazi and Gal Perl Finkel, Integrating Technologies to Protect
the Home Front against Ballistic Threats and Cruise Missiles,
"Military and Strategic Affairs", Volume 5, No. 3, December 2013.
^ Navon, Eran (5 March 2010). שטח משוחרר - הוחזר
[Liberated Land - Returned]. Yisrael Hayom (in Hebrew). Retrieved 7
^ Sharvit, Noam (7 February 2011). פנייה ליועץ: פסול
מינוי גנץ בשל עבירות בנייה [Petition to the
Attorney General: Revoke Gantz's Appointment in Light of Building
Violations] (in Hebrew). NRG (Ma'ariv). Retrieved 7 February
^ Tzuk, Dana (7 February 2011). המטה למען א"י נגד
האלוף גנץ [The Forum for the Land of
Israel V. Major General
Gantz] (in Hebrew). GLZ (Army Radio). Archived from the original on 19
July 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
^ "Family of fallen soldier considers petition against Gantz".
Jerusalem Post. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
^ Ravid, Barak (10 February 2011). ועדת טירקל אישרה את
מינוי גנץ למרות "פגמים בהתנהלות" [Turkel
Committee Approves Gantz Appointment Despite Flaws in Conduct].
Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 10 February 2011.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Benny Gantz.
Chiefs of Staff of the
Israel Defense Forces
Yaakov Dori (1947–49)
Yigael Yadin (1949–52)
Mordechai Maklef (1952–53)
Moshe Dayan (1953–58)
Haim Laskov (1958–61)
Tzvi Tzur (1961–64)
Yitzhak Rabin (1964–68)
Haim Bar-Lev (1968–72)
David Elazar (1972–74)
Mordechai Gur (1974–78)
Rafael Eitan (1978–83)
Moshe Levi (1983–87)
Dan Shomron (1987–91)
Ehud Barak (1991–95)
Amnon Lipkin-Shahak (1995–98)
Shaul Mofaz (1998–2002)
Moshe Ya'alon (2002–05)
Dan Halutz (2005–07)
Gabi Ashkenazi (2007–11)
Benny Gantz (2011–15)
Gadi Eizenkot (2015–present)
Deputy Chiefs of Staff of the
Israel Defense Forces
Tzvi Ayalon (1948–49)
Mordechai Maklef (1949–52)
Haim Laskov (1955–56)
Tzvi Tzur (1958)
Yitzhak Rabin (1961–63)
Haim Bar-Lev (1967–68)
Israel Tal (1973)
Yekutiel Adam (1978–82)
Moshe Levi (1982–83)
David Ivry (1983–85)
Dan Shomron (1985–86)
Amir Drori (1986–87)
Ehud Barak (1987–91)
Amnon Lipkin-Shahak (1991–94)
Matan Vilnai (1994–97)
Shaul Mofaz (1997–98)
Uzi Dayan (1998–99)
Moshe Ya'alon (1999–2002)
Gabi Ashkenazi (2002–04)
Dan Halutz (2004–05)
Moshe Kaplinsky (2005–07)
Dan Harel (2007–09)
Benny Gantz (2009–10)
Yair Naveh (2010–13)
Gadi Eizenkot (2013–14)
Yair Golan (2014–17)
Aviv Kochavi (2017–present)
GOC Northern Command