Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

Gantz: A strong entrance, but questions remain

Now that the angel dust has cleared from Benny Gantz’s introduction, I restate my opinion: (from my last blog Gantz, the Weather and Other Truths) “We finally have a leader.” We finally have someone who can be elected, and potentially draw support from people of diverse backgrounds and opinions.  It is of vital importance that he is elected.  The self serving corruption that has run rampant must end. Still many questions remain and I would like to iterate them:

  1. Can Gantz’s inner calm prevail? Can it permeate his “list,” staff and coalition partners?
  2. How might the “brit” with Moshe “Bogy” Ya’alon” effect Gantz’s capacity to lead? Some hints of this were revealed in that first hug between the two leaders (in my opinion Gantz would have been better to introduce Bogy with eight or nine other list members.  Also the embarassing phrase [Gantz to Ya’alon] ” he was my boss!” should have been stricken from the script [whether it was written or spontaneous]).  It was an embarrassing moment that weakened Gantz’s fabulous entrance.
  3. Gantz’s list of promises was extensive, but was it too extensive to be believable? There were also omissions; for instance, the cursory mention of the Diaspora may not have been enough to convince us that Gantz is interested in tackling the schism (Israel-Diaspora) ; this includes, first and foremost, the waning interest of Diaspora youth in Israel. For many Anglos this is of paramount importance.
  4. Who is a Jew? With his new coalition, will Gantz be able to forge peace with so many Diaspora Jews who have felt chastised and minimized?  If so, how will he traverse the many land mines others have encountered?
  5. Who will navigate foreign policy under Gantz’s governance?  Bibi, for all his many faults, was skilled at interacting with international leaders, especially with his impeccable English.  Who does Gantz have in mind/?
  6. Can Gantz’s perceived honesty prevail throughout his “ranks”? Ditto with omission of “lashon ha rah” (rumors, falsehoods, gossip) within his entire coalition.
  7. Will Gantz be able to repair the damage in relations with the Druze community?  Likewise with Arab Israeli citizens.  If so, how?  Is his initial mention of “repeal” of the new Nation State Law realistic and viable?
  8. How can a new Gantz-led government give real hope to our youth, not only words? This ranges from keeping higher education costs capped, new affordable housing, rent control, meaningful employment, freedom of cultural expression, etc.
  9. Can there be ZERO tolerance for underhanded deals and lies in a Gantz government?
  10. Can Gantz turn down the incessant chatter?  This not only means leaks and selve-serving interviews with the press, but also the tone of conversation.  The most embarrassing moments of last week’s television broadcast introducing Gantz to the public, came in Miri Regev’s response.  The face of Regev nearly turning red had a circus aura.  Her incessant hysteria prevented newscaster Yonit Levi from getting in a word or two edgewise.  Regev pulled out every cliche in the book, “leftist”, “party of generals”, “his words, just a list of things”, etc.  But what was unbearable was the caustic tone of her words.  She never came up for air.  Finally Yonit Levi had no choice but to cut her off in the middle of her rant and switch to another news item.  To my mind, this was a transformative moment of the pre-2019 elections.  We were witnessing a sublime cultural non-sequitur, from Gantz to Regev. This shocking moment might have been the end of Bibi’s governing regime as we now know it.
About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA) and recently a Mifhal HaPais prize to produce a new album “Sounds of Siday: Side B” (orchestra).. Horenstein's teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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