Kachol Lavan

Leader: Benny Gantz
Current Seats: N/A (new party)
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: N/A (new party)
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Supports

Kachol Lavan is a new party built from a merger between two centrist parties, Benny Gantz’s Hosen Leyisrael and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. Gantz retains the number one slot on the list, while he and Lapid share a rotation agreement in which the Yesh Atid leader will take over the premiership after two-and-a-half years if Kachol Lavan is selected to lead a government after elections.

Kachol Lavan brings together three former IDF chiefs of staff: Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon, and Gabi Ashkenazi.

While broadly centrist, Kachol Lavan’s political ideology is hard to place, especially as concerns the Palestinian question. Yair Lapid and Gabi Ashkenazi (former IDF chief of staff and number four on Kachol Lavan’s list) have both spoken in favor of a two-state solution as a means to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Benny Gantz has elaborated on plans for peace with the Palestinians that would include some form of territorial concessions, while annexing certain settlements and retaining the Jordan Valley as a security border for Israel. His statements are compatible with both one and two-state proposals, and he has not come down explicitly for either. Moshe Ya’alon (number three on the list and another former IDF chief of staff) is publicly opposed to the two-state solution, a stance he reaffirmed after joining forces with Benny Gantz in January. The list includes other prominent right-wingers, including former Likud Media Adviser Zvi Hauser. Gantz and Lapid have been careful to avoid left-wing associations, including by rejecting a joint list with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah.

Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid consented to a rotation agreement. If Kachol Lavan is selected to lead the government, Gantz will serve as prime minister for two-and-a-half years, with Lapid taking over afterwards.

Kachol Lavan has the potential to outperform Netanyahu’s Likud, providing the sitting prime minister with a serious electoral challenge. In particular, the inclusion of Gabi Ashkenazi, a Mizrahi former IDF chief of staff, has the potential to draw votes away from Likud and other right-wing parties.