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JERUSALEM – 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.