Elections

Gantz Quits Netanyahu's War Cabinet, Leaving Prime Minister More Reliant on Far-Right Allies

Main image to the post Gantz Quits Netanyahu's War Cabinet, Leaving Prime Minister More Reliant on Far-Right Allies

Benny Gantz, a former military chief and prominent Israeli politician, has resigned from Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency war cabinet, leaving the prime minister more reliant on the far-right elements within his coalition government. Gantz, leader of the centre-right National Unity party and a long-standing rival of Netanyahu, joined the war cabinet following Hamas's attack on October 7th. However, disagreements over strategy and the release of Israeli hostages led to Gantz accusing Netanyahu of prioritizing his own political survival over strategic considerations.

Gantz's departure also signifies the resignation of Gadi Eisenkot, an IDF general and war cabinet observer, and Chili Tropper, the minister without portfolio. In a televised address, Gantz stated that Netanyahu is preventing progress towards victory and urged him to call for elections.

While Gantz's resignation does not immediately threaten Netanyahu's majority coalition, it impacts the Israeli government's international standing. Gantz, well-regarded in Washington, was seen as a moderating influence on Netanyahu. His absence is likely to give more power to the prime minister's far-right allies, potentially influencing the course of the war in Gaza and the escalating threat from Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Netanyahu, facing corruption charges and scrutiny over the security failures that led to the October 7th attack, is widely believed to see remaining in office as his best chance of avoiding prosecution. He also needs to address an internal challenge from the two ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition regarding military conscription.

Gantz, a former military commander, entered politics in 2018, establishing a new party with the goal of ending Netanyahu's political dominance. He was considered a potential leader of a new coalition in the event of a government collapse and early elections, although his popularity has declined in recent months. His National Union party submitted a bill last week to dissolve parliament and hold early elections.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09