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Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz resigns over PM Netanyahu’s handling of war in Gaza

Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz resigns over PM Netanyahu’s handling of war in Gaza

Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz resigns over PM Netanyahu’s handling of war in Gaza

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Israeli Minister of Defense Benjamin Benny Gantz speaks during annual Jerusalem Post conference at Gotham Hall. New York^ NY - September 12^ 2022
Israeli Minister of Defense Benjamin Benny Gantz speaks during annual Jerusalem Post conference at Gotham Hall. New York^ NY - September 12^ 2022

Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz announced his resignation on Sunday over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza. Gantz had threatened to depart the government by June 8 if it didn’t adopt a new plan, giving them a three-week deadline.

Gantz announced his resignation in a televised news conference on Sunday, stating that Netanyahu stood in Israel’s way to “a real victory… that is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart, but with a whole heart.” Gantz is a popular former centrist military chief, and one of the prime minister’s most prominent critics. He joined Netanyahu’s government shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in a show of unity. However, he said at the news conference that Netanyahu is making “total victory impossible” and that the government needs to put the return of the hostages seized Oct. 7 by Hamas “above political survival .. that is why we are leaving the emergency government today, with a heavy heart but with full confidence.”

Gantz also called for new elections this fall that will “ultimately lead to the formation of a government that has won the trust of the people and be able to face the challenges” and encouraged the third member of the war Cabinet, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, to “do the right thing” and resign from the government as well. Gallant has previously said he would resign if Israel chose to reoccupy Gaza, and encouraged the government to make plans for a Palestinian administration.

During his resignation address, Gantz said there should be elections this fall “that will eventually establish a government that will win the trust of the people and be able to face challenges. I call on Netanyahu: set an agreed election date. Don’t let our people be torn apart.”

Netanyahu had urged Gantz not to leave the emergency wartime government, saying: “this is the time for unity, not for division. This is not the time to abandon the campaign — this is the time to join forces.” Netanyahu still controls a majority coalition in parliament, but will now need to more heavily rely on his far-right allies.

Netanyahu addressed Gantz in an X post following his resignation: “Citizens of Israel, we will continue until victory and the achievement of all the goals of the war, primarily the release of all our hostages and the elimination of Hamas.”

Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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