All Israel

Netanyahu livid as Benny Gantz arrives in US for high-profile meetings

War Cabinet minister to meet US VP Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

Minister Benny Gantz shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a plenum session for Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, at the assembly hall of the Knesset in Jerusalem, on Dec. 25, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s War Cabinet and the leader of the National Unity party, arrived in Washington D.C. on Sunday for a series of meetings with several high-profile representatives in the Biden administration.

The trip has caused considerable turmoil in Israel’s government, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly furious over the travel plans of the man who is currently leading him in the polls by a wide margin.

After meeting with AIPAC officials on Sunday, and with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday, Gantz will meet with State Secretary Antony Blinken on Tuesday before flying to London for additional meetings.

Topics of discussion will include increasing the transfer of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip and the ongoing negotiations with the Hamas terror organization for a new hostage release deal and a temporary ceasefire in the war.

As a consequence of not coordinating his trip with Netanyahu, Israel’s embassy in Washington received instructions not to assist in any capacity with Gantz's visit to the United States.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog and other embassy representatives did not accompany Gantz on the trip or take part in the meetings, Israeli media reported.

Gantz’s trip further inflamed the already tense political situation in the Israeli government, with Netanyahu reportedly livid that he wasn’t informed of the trip beforehand.

A source close to the prime minister told Ynet News that Netanyahu called and “made it clear to Minister Gantz that the State of Israel only has one prime minister.”

The trip was allegedly organized without prior approval, despite standing regulations requiring “every minister to clear travel in advance with the prime minister, including approval of the travel plan,” the source added.

Gantz’s office stated that he personally updated Netanyahu on his travel plans “in order to coordinate the messages to be transmitted in the meetings,” after the Prime Minister’s Office had approved the trip in writing.

Several government ministers lambasted Gantz on the matter. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich accused Gantz of working with the U.S. to advance their plan of establishing a Palestinian state.

“The US government is looking for places to drive a wedge between Israelis, in order to advance its plans, with the help of Gantz,” Smotrich said.

Regional Cooperation Minister Dudi Amsalem called him a “Trojan horse,” and Transportation Minister Miri Regev accused Gantz of “subversion,” while alleging that he was flying to the U.S. “to speak for himself, he can't make any decisions.”

Likud party Knesset Member Danny Danon, on the other hand, defended Gantz, stressing that “any meeting between an Israeli minister and [US officials] is welcomed.”

“We need to remember that we’re in the midst of a difficult war... so let’s put things in proportion," he said. “We are grateful to the US for the support, though we don’t necessarily agree with everything they ask of us or say.”

The controversy over Gantz’s trip to Washington further complicated the tense situation in the government after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant last Thursday vowed not to support a new law to end IDF draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men unless it had the full support of every part of the government coalition.

Gallant's move puts the government in concrete danger, as it, in effect, creates a deadline for the coalition to reach a compromise solution agreed upon by all sides by April 1.

Gantz has been leading in all recent Israeli polls by a wide margin and is seen as the most likely successor to Netanyahu if new elections were to be held in the coming months.

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

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories