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Benny Gantz declares exit from coalition – ending Israel's emergency unity government – and calls for new elections

Gantz slams PM: ‘Netanyahu preventing us from real victory’

Head of the National Unity party Minister Benny Gantz holds a press conference in Ramat Gan, June 9, 2024. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

War Cabinet Minister and National Unity party leader Benny Gantz declared on Sunday he will leave the Israeli government and return to the opposition while calling for new elections and slamming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Netanyahu is preventing us from advancing to a real victory. That is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart but wholeheartedly,” Gantz said in a televised statement.

On Saturday, Gantz was expected to announce his resignation from the emergency government, which he joined last October. His statement was reportedly postponed because of the successful rescue operation of four Israeli hostages.

“Months after the October disaster, the situation in the country and in the decision-making room changed. Netanyahu and his partners turned unity into an emotional appeal without connection to reality. Fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitancy and procrastination due to political considerations,” Gantz charged.

Despite attending a Cabinet meeting during Gantz’s statement and criticizing him for engaging in politics, Netanyahu released a statement before Gantz’s announcement had even concluded.

“A few hours ago the entire State of Israel mourned and saluted the late hero of Israel, Arnon Zamora. Israel is in an existential war on several fronts. Benny, this is not the time to abandon the campaign, this is the time to join forces,” Netanyahu said.

“My door will remain open to any Zionist party that is willing to join under the stretcher and assist in bringing victory over our enemies and ensuring the security of our citizens,” he added.

Gantz continued to call for elections in the fall, adding that Israel needed to “establish a government that will win the trust of the people and be able to face challenges.”

After apologizing to the hostage families for the failure leading to their capture and taking personal responsibility, Gantz said he supported the comprehensive plan to end the war that U.S. President Joe Biden presented last week.

He also called on Netanyahu to show “the necessary courage to stand behind it and do everything to advance it.”

Over the weekend, Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had attempted to convince Gantz to stay in the emergency unity government formed last October

With Gantz’s resignation from the coalition, he and his No. 2, Gadi Eisenkot, will also cease to be part of the War Cabinet, which is expected to be dissolved.

With National Unity’s withdrawal, the government returns to the right-wing coalition holding 64 mandates, formed about a year and a half ago.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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