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Benny Gantz quits Israel's war Cabinet

Published June 9, 2024last updated June 9, 2024

Benny Gantz said he was leaving Israel's emergency government because of differences in opinion with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the future of the Gaza Strip.

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz was a centrist member of Israel's three-man war Cabinet Image: ABIR SULTAN/EPA

Israeli politician Benny Gantz on Sunday announced his resignation from Israel's war Cabinet.

Gantz joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency government shortly after the Hamas militant Islamist group's attacks in southern Israel on October 7.

Benny Gantz: 'We are leaving the wartime cabinet today'

Why did Gantz withdraw from the war Cabinet?

"(Benjamin) Netanyahu is preventing us from progressing to a real victory. That is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart," Gantz said.

Gantz also called for Israel to hold snap elections in the fall.

Besides Gantz, also in the war Cabinet were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of the ruling right-wing Likud party.

In his address, Gantz accused Netanyahu of "making empty promises" and prioritizing his own political survival over Israel's security needs.

Gantz also urged Gallant to be brave and "do what is right." The Israeli defense minister has previously said that he could resign if Israel moves to reoccupy and administer the Gaza Strip.

Gantz is a former military chief and belongs to the centrist National Unity coalition.

Israeli military rescues hostages held by Hamas

Gantz's announcement comes a day after Israel's military said it had rescued four hostages from Gaza.

Ruling Coalition responds to Gantz resignation

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urged Gantz not to leave the emergency government.

"Benny, this is not the time to abandon the battle, this is the time to join forces," Netanyahu said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

"This is the time for unity, not for division," he said.

Gantz's withdrawal from the war Cabinet is not an immediate threat to the Netanyahu government as Likud is able to govern alongside far-right coalition partners.

Gantz exit boosts far-right faction in Israeli government

Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of the hard-line Jewish Power and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionism party have threatened to topple the government if Netanyahu signs a cease-fire and hostage release deal without eliminating Hamas.

Last week, US President Joe Biden announced an Israeli proposal for a cease-fire deal with Hamas that would pass through three phases and ultimately lead to a permanent cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu later insisted that Biden had only presented a "partial outline" and that Israel would still be able to eliminate Hamas under the deal.

On Sunday evening, Ben-Gvir immediately demanded to be given a spot in the war Cabinet in place of Gantz. 

sdi/nm (Reuters, AP, AFP)