Supporters of the Blue and White party attend a campaign event for Gantz in Jerusalem. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA
Netanyahu, 69, has created coalitions of pro-settlement and ultra-Orthodox factions to survive. Despite facing the threat of indictment in three separate corruption cases, he remains the most likely winner on Tuesday. And to the horror of many Israelis, he is betting
on support from far-right Jewish extremists to hold on to power.
Gantz has run a campaign that is light on policies but focuses on how he can unite a divided country and reset its democracy. We need to fix the house, he said at a rally in Tel Aviv.
He has focused on how members of Netanyahus cabinet have battered state institutions. The culture minister, Miri Regev, has tried to cut funding to groups considered not loyal to Israel, while the justice minister, Ayelet Shaked,
pushed to weaken the Israeli judiciary, which she sees as a barrier to a hard-right agenda.
The minister of culture is supposed to develop our cultural institutions; she attacks them. The minister of justice is supposed to support our justice system; she attacks it, said Gantz to applause.
His campaign promises, handed out on blue fliers, read like a series of digs at Netanyahu: We will fight corruption we will defend the countrys institutions, including its justice and legal systems.
Blue and White has said it will impose three-term limits for prime ministers. If Netanyahu wins it will be his fifth.
Michal Cababia, a volunteer in Gantzs team, said Blue and White was a party that could unify. Discourse in Israeli society, its so divisive. People want change.
To achieve this, Gantz has attempted political acrobatics: he considers himself leftwing, rightwing and centrist. In the same breath, he will try to woo voters who want to forge peace with Israels neighbours and those who see brute force as the only option.
He talks proudly of how his first assignment as a young recruit was to protect the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat during a visit to Israel that later led to a peace deal. And how, two decades later, he was the last soldier to leave Lebanon after its internationally condemned occupation. He jokes how he visits Arab countries mostly without a passport, an Israeli phrase for wartime travel.
Gantz during his time as the head of the IDF. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters
Gantz knows that isolating the right in a country where most people identify with it may not be politically prudent. To court voters who cannot imagine Israel without Bibi, Gantz regularly praises his former boss, saying they are similar. My name is also Benjamin, he joked.
He says he is pro-peace, but his policy on the Palestinian people does not appear wildly different to Netanyahus. He eschews talk of Palestinian statehood, and argues Israel should maintain control of parts of the West Bank and never give up Jerusalem, including it occupied districts.
One of his major running mates, Moshe Yaalon, is a hawkish former member of Netanyahus Likud party who once
trialled segregated buses for Palestinians and Israelis.
Sitting at the back of the room where Gantz was speaking, Weinstein said she was not inspired, but figured he might be the best of the worst.
The bottom line is: does this guy have a chance to beat Bibi?