Netanyahu briefs rival Gantz on security issues, signaling Israel could take military action on Syrian border

JERUSALEM (JTA) — In a rare occurrence, the head of the main opposition party in Israel was briefed on recent violence that has Israel and the security establishment on edge.

In the past, such courtesy briefings were a signal that Israel could be contemplating military action.

Benny Gantz, who leads the Blue and White party, received the briefing from security officials on orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Kan public broadcaster reported. Although he is not officially the opposition leader, Gantz and his party remain the chief rival to Netanyahu and his Likud party in the Sept. 17 elections.

Gantz is a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff. He and Netanyahu, also the defense minister, generally agree on defense issues.

The briefing comes following a weekend in which an Israeli teen was killed in a bomb attack, Israel allegedly struck Iranian targets in Syria and Palestinian terror targets in Lebanon, alleged Israeli drones crashed in a southern suburb of Beirut and rockets were fired from Gaza on southern Israel.

Gantz did not comment on the briefing, saying in a statement issued by the party: “As a general rule, Blue and White chairman Lt. Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz does not make a habit of discussing even the existence of security briefings, and certainly not their content.”