Former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot announced on Wednesday that he has decided not to enter politics at this time.

Eizenkot was a much sought-after candidate by parties ranging from Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope to Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.

Sa’ar had been putting heavy pressure on Eizenkot to run on his new list, but the former chief of staff was also being courted by Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, the Israelis Party head Ron Huldai and Telem leader Moshe Ya’alon.

One factor in Eizenkot’s decision to sit the 2021 election out is apparently the mandatory “cooling-off” period for former high-ranking military figures. The March 2021 election overlaps that period for Eizenkot, which would prevent him from being appointed to a ministerial position in any new government for several months after any new government was formed.

In an interview with Israel Hayom defense analyst Yoav Limor in May, Eizenkot hinted at his intention to enter the political arena, saying he wanted to “return and have an influence.”

Eizenkot told the paper that after spending some time in his “comfort zone,” he wanted to return to the public sphere, noting that he had served as defense secretary to two prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon.

“I saw from up close that influence is a form of leadership and a way to get things done in the system,” he said.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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