Netanyahu still leads in the polls, but the Israeli prime minister knows that he will still have to battle the courts and the media if he retains power this election. While Gantz has to date remained relatively mum on policy, his party is predicted to win up to 23 seats in the next parliament, trailing only Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud which is polling at around 30 mandates.
"We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people", the former chief of general staff of the Israel Defense Forces said in an interview with the newspaper.
Gantz's ready-to-rumble rhetoric appears to be the only way to bring down the long-serving Netanyahu.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism but were welcomed by the Palestinians.
The Gaza pullout was a boost for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which has since fought three wars with Israel. Gantz responded that "it was a legal action; it was approved by the government of Israel and carried out by the IDF and the settlers, with great pain but done very well".
The decision in 2005 to withdraw every Israeli civilian and soldier from Gaza is probably the second-most contentious initiative in Israel's modern history after the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords, which recognized as a legitimate political actor Yassir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization.
In a statement, Likud accused Gantz of planning to form a "leftist government" with the help of Israeli Arab parties that have pro-Palestinian sympathies.
"Gantz has thrown off the mask and overtaken Avi Gabbay (of the centre-left Labour party). and wants to expel Jews from their homes through a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)", Bennett said.
Mr Gantz is now the subject of a lawsuit filed at the Hague by Ismail Ziada, a Dutch-Palestinian citizen born in Gaza's Al Bureij refugee camp.
The interview came as Likud held its primary election to select its list of candidates for the parliamentary election. Mr Netanyahu views Saar as a potential replacement and had lobbied party members hard to push him down the list.
According to the report in the Times of Israel, the poll by the Kan public broadcaster showed Gantz's party collecting 28 seats in the Knesset if Ashkenazi joins, compared to 22 seats without him. With Mr Netanyahu facing a series of corruption charges, the primaries have taken on added significance as an indicator for his potential successor within the party.