Blaming Netanyahu's Handling of War, Gantz Quits Government

Resignation weakens prime minister's position but doesn't end coalition
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2024 2:03 PM CDT
Blaming Netanyahu's Handling of War, Gantz Quits Government
Women hold signs Sunday with photographs of hostages who were kidnapped during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel, on a street in Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Benny Gantz, a centrist presence in Israel's emergency government, resigned on Sunday over Benjamin Netanyahu's management of the war in Gaza. The defection fractures, but appears unlikely to immediately break, the prime minister's ruling coalition. Gantz had said he would quit if there was no postwar plan in place by Saturday. "Netanyahu is preventing us from advancing to the real victory," the opposition leader said in a televised statement to the nation, per the New York Times. "Therefore, we are leaving the emergency government with a heavy but complete heart."

Gantz was one of three voting members of the war cabinet, with Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, both members of the Likud Party. In his statement, Gantz urged Gallant to resign as well, per the Washington Post. On Saturday, the prime minister had urged Gantz to stay, per CNN. "We must remain united within ourselves in the face of the great tasks before us," Netanyahu posted on Telegram. "I call on Benny Gantz—do not leave the emergency government. Don't give up on unity." The government is now made up of members of the right-wing Likud, two far-right parties, and two ultra-Orthodox factions.

The National Unity party was not part of Netanyahu's coalition, which still has 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset. But the prime minister already was facing increasing pressure to end the fighting in Gaza and secure the return of Hamas' remaining hostages, from allies including the US as well as the captives' families. "The snowball has started to roll,"said Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at Hebrew University. "Gantz's move is not going to directly put an end to this coalition, but the coalition is beginning to collapse in on itself." (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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