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Pressure on War Cabinet Minister Gantz to remain in emergency government following successful hostage rescue

PM Netanyahu and Shas leader Deri ask Gantz to remain, while opposition and protest leaders slam his failure to leave

Head of the National Unity party Minister Benny Gantz holds a press conference in Ramat Gan, May 18, 2024. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

War Cabinet member and leader of the National Unity party, Benny Gantz, canceled a previously scheduled news conference on Saturday evening, where he was expected to announce his resignation from the emergency government.

In May, Gantz publicly issued an ultimatum to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he would exit the government on June 8 if Netanyahu did not reveal plans for the post-war in Gaza and a timeline for returning evacuees to Israel’s northern communities. 

Later in May, Gantz and his party submitted a bill to dissolve the currently serving 25th Knesset and bring about new elections. 

Gantz and party member Gadi Eisenkot, also a member of the War Cabinet, have frequently sparred with coalition ministers over the war conduct and hostage negotiations. 

Shortly after the end of Shabbat, on Saturday evening, Netanyahu posted a message to his 𝕏 account, urging Gantz not to leave the government. 

“This is the time for unity and not for division. We must remain united within ourselves in the face of the great tasks before us. I call on Benny Gantz - do not leave the emergency government. Don't give up on unity.” 

While the departure of Gantz’s party would not pose an immediate threat to the coalition government, its departure could create problems if the coalition were not to vote in a united bloc on controversial legislation, such as the ultra-Orthodox military draft law. 

If such a law failed after a Knesset vote, it could trigger a no confidence vote, leading to the collapse of the coalition. 

Gantz appeared in a video after the hostage rescue, in which he said, “Alongside the justified joy of achievement, we must remember that all the challenges facing Israel, regarding the return of the remaining 120 abductees, and regarding the other security challenges in all arenas of war, vis-à-vis the region, the world as well as domestically, remain the same. Therefore, I say to the prime minister and the entire leadership – even today we must look responsibly at how it is right and we can continue from here.” 

Some political analysts viewed the statement as a willingness to negotiate over his continued stay in the government. 

Ultra-Orthodox Shas party leader Aryeh Deri also called on Gantz to stay in the government.

“On this occasion, I call on Minister Benny Gantz to withdraw his intention to resign from the government. This is not the time for elections!” Deri wrote on 𝕏. “Israel is still in the midst of a challenging campaign in the south and north and internal unity within us is critical to the continuation of the war, on the front and in the rear. Only together we will win!” 

However, opposition leader Yair Lapid called on Gantz to leave the emergency government and the War Cabinet, calling it a “crazy government.” 

“Now they have influence and Ben-Gvir and Smotrich don't do what they want? It's a crazy government. They send aid trucks to Gaza, and then cabinet ministers send their militias to stop them. This is complete lawlessness and should not be legitimized.” 

One prominent leader of a protest movement in Israel slammed Gantz for not withdrawing on Saturday night. 

“For the thousandth time, Benny Gantz is not doing what he said he’d do,” said Nava Rozolyo, a lawyer and anti-government activist, while speaking at a rally in Herzliya on Saturday night. 


Shortly after publication, Gantz announced that he will make a speech at 20:00 Sunday evening, where he is expected to announce whether he will remain in the emergency government.

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

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