Politics, Middle East

Israel’s Netanyahu mulls dissolving War Cabinet after members resign

Benny Gantz, Gadi Eizenkot accuse Netanyahu of pursuing policies that serve his political interests, call for early elections

Abdelraouf Arnaout  | 10.06.2024 - Update : 10.06.2024
Israel’s Netanyahu mulls dissolving War Cabinet after members resign


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering disbanding the War Cabinet after members Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot resigned, according to Israeli media on Monday.

Gantz and Eizenkot, members of the National Unity Party (which holds 12 of the 120 Knesset seats), accused Netanyahu on Sunday of pursuing policies that serve his political interests. They also called for early elections “as soon as possible.”

The two members slammed Netanyahu for failing to achieve the declared objectives of the ongoing war in Gaza, particularly the elimination of Hamas and the return of Israeli captives.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday: “Following Gantz's exit, Netanyahu mulls dissolving War Cabinet.”

Although the resignations of Gantz and Eizenkot do not pose a significant threat to Netanyahu's government—since their party was not part of his ruling coalition, which maintains a parliamentary majority with 64 seats—their exit leaves the War Cabinet without representation from any party other than Netanyahu's Likud party.

The War Cabinet, formed on Oct. 11, originally included Netanyahu, Gantz, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, with observers such as Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Eizenkot, and Shas party leader Aryeh Deri.

Gantz and Eizenkot's resignations present an opportunity for the far-right parties Otzma Yehudit, led by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Religious Zionism, led by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Both parties have frequently expressed dissatisfaction with the war decisions being made by a War Cabinet that excludes their representatives.

The two ministers, strong advocates for continuing the war in Gaza, have repeatedly called for being included in the War Cabinet or its dissolution.

Smotrich labeled the resignations as “irresponsible,” while Ben-Gvir immediately called on Netanyahu via X to include him in the War Cabinet.

“I have issued a demand to the Prime Minister, demanding to join the Cabinet. The time has come to make brave decisions, achieve real deterrence, and bring security to the residents of the south, the north, and Israel as a whole,” Ben Gvir said.

As of Monday morning, Netanyahu had not responded to Ben Gvir's request.

Unlike Ben Gvir, who has no military experience, Gantz is a former defense minister and chief of staff, and Eizenkot is also a former chief of staff.

The opposition accuses Netanyahu of yielding to Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, who oppose any cease-fire agreement or prisoner exchange deal with Hamas and have threatened to resign and topple the government if such agreements are made.

Netanyahu is determined to remain in office and rejects growing calls for early elections, arguing that such elections would “paralyze Israel” and delay prisoner exchange negotiations for up to eight months.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and nearly 84,500 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio in Istanbul

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.