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‘To prevent a rift in the nation’ – Gantz calls for new elections in September

Likud response: Elections mean ‘paralysis, division, damage to hostage negotiations’

National Unity chairman Benny Gantz in a video statement on April 3, 2024. (Photo: Screenshot)

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz called for new elections to be held in September, the first time a government member has done so since Gantz joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition last October.

Elections would “prevent a rift in the nation” and allow the citizens to sooner “renew the trust between us,” the leader of the National Unity party said in a televised speech on Wednesday evening.

Netanyahu’s Likud party immediately slammed Gantz’s comments, calling him to stop “engaging in petty politics just because of the disintegration of his party.”

“Elections now will inevitably lead to paralysis, division, damage to the fighting in Rafah and fatal damage to the chances of a hostage deal,” the party stated. “The government will continue until all the goals of the war are achieved.”

Knesset Member Gideon Sa’ar recently left Gantz’s party, and later quit the government, over disagreements regarding leadership, as Sa’ar demanded a tougher stance in the war against Hamas and sought a seat in the War Cabinet.

“Minister Gantz is a partner in the failed and idealess war cabinet that brought Israel to an impasse in the war,” Sa’ar stated in response to Gantz's public address. “In his words this evening, nothing was said about how to solve the challenges.”

Ynet News reported on Wednesday that Gantz’s public election demand came after Likud rejected his proposal to agree on a date for new elections in return for a compromise on a new IDF draft law.

“The public must know that we will ask for their trust again soon, that we will not ignore the October 7 disaster and what preceded it,” Gantz said in his speech.

“That is why we must reach an agreed-upon election date during the month of September, as we approach one year into the war. Such an agreed election date will leave us time to continue the security effort,” he added.

Gantz also suggested that new elections would renew Israel’s legitimacy in the eyes of the world, implying that world leaders would prefer him over Netanyahu, who has repeatedly rejected calls for early elections as counterproductive.

Opposition leader and Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid criticized Gantz for proposing elections be delayed until September, arguing for an earlier date.

Israel “cannot wait another six months until the worst, most dangerous and failed government in the country’s history goes home,” Lapid wrote on 𝕏.

“This government needs to go home as soon as possible so that we can return the kidnapped, return the evacuees home, defeat Hamas and make sure that someone takes care of the Israeli middle class,” he added.

Far-left politician Yair Golan, a top candidate for leading the Labor party, slammed Gantz and accused him of intending to rescue “Netanyahu’s government of catastrophes.”

“How tragic that the one who claimed to be an alternative to the man who brought us the October 7th massacre turned out to be his pale imitation. The citizens of Israel deserve more than that,” he stated.

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

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