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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Key minister quits Netanyahu’s war government

Benny Gantz has resigned from the cabinet, accusing the Israeli PM of failing to achieve a “true victory” over Hamas

A key member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, Benny Gantz, has announced his withdrawal from the country’s war government.

Gantz, a former defense minister without portfolio who entered the war cabinet shortly after the beginning of the ongoing conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas last October, announced his resignation on Sunday citing a disagreement with Netanyahu’s policies.

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“Netanyahu is preventing us from progressing towards a true victory,” he said in a statement . “For this reason we are leaving the emergency government today, with a heavy heart, yet wholeheartedly.”

Gantz also called upon Netanyahu to set a date for new elections, urging him to “not let our nation be torn apart.”

While the departure of Gantz itself would not collapse the ruling coalition, given that his centrist Israel Resilience party holds only six seats in the Knesset, his move is bound to send a shockwave across the country’s political landscape.

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Shortly after the announcement, another minister without portfolio, former IDF Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot, also resigned from the cabinet. Yechiel Tropper, a member of the Knesset, made the same announcement.

Netanyahu took to X, formerly Twitter, to lament Gantz’s resignation, urging him not to quit the “battle,” and claiming it is actually “time to join forces” instead. The PM claimed he is ready to work with any Zionists party willing to “assist in bridging victory over our enemies.”

The disintegration of Israel’s war cabinet has coincided with the resignation of a top Israeli general in charge of Gaza operations, over the failure to stop the initial October 2023 attack by Hamas. In a letter to his superiors, the head of the IDF’s Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, said he had failed in his “life’s mission” and is quitting military service altogether. Rosenfeld is the second top officer to resign over the October 7 attack, after the IDF’s chief of military intelligence quit earlier this year.