Amid Hamas war, Netanyahu suffers a setback, Israel's War Minister Gantz resigns


Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement that Gantz was giving Israel's enemies what they wanted. Asked if he was concerned that his departure would affect Israel's standing abroad, Gantz said both Galant and Netanyahu knew what needed to be done.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel's war cabinet. (File photo)

There has been a long-running war between Israel and Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel's war cabinet minister Benny Gantz announced his resignation from the emergency government on Sunday. Gantz said that Prime Minister Netanyahu is preventing us from moving towards victory. Therefore, I resign from the emergency government.

Although the departure of Gantz's party will not pose any immediate threat to the Netanyahu government, it can still have serious implications. This will make Netanyahu dependent on the hardliners, which will lead to no end to the Gaza war and the possibility of an escalation of fighting with Lebanese Hezbollah has increased.

Netanyahu was given an ultimatum

Last month, Gantz gave Netanyahu a June 8 deadline to come up with a clear strategy for Gaza, where Israel is pressing ahead with a devastating military offensive against the ruling Palestinian militant group Hamas. Netanyahu rejected the ultimatum shortly after it was given.

Politics dominates strategic decisions

On Sunday, Gantz said that politics was overshadowing the fatal strategic decisions in Netanyahu's cabinet. He said that it was a painful decision to leave when the hostages were still in Gaza and the soldiers were fighting there. Gantz said that Netanyahu is preventing us from moving towards true victory. So we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart but with full confidence.

This is not the time to leave the battlefield

Netanyahu responded in a social media post, telling Gantz that this was not the time to leave the battlefield. With Gantz gone, Netanyahu would lose the support of the centrist bloc that has helped shore up support for the government in Israel and abroad, at a time of growing diplomatic and domestic pressure eight months after the Gaza war.

While his coalition controls 64 of parliament's 120 seats, Netanyahu will now have to rely more on political support from ultra-nationalist parties whose leaders angered Washington even before the war and who have called for a full Israeli occupation of Gaza.

Public pressure likely to increase

This is likely to exacerbate already strained relations with the United States and increase public pressure at home, as the months-long military campaign has still not met its stated goals of the destruction of Hamas and the return of more than 100 remaining hostages held in Gaza.

Gantz joined Netanyahu's war cabinet shortly after the Oct. 7 election, where he, Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Yoav Galant received the only votes. On Sunday, Gantz described Galant, who has feuded with Netanyahu and some ultra-nationalist ministers, as a brave leader and called on him to do the right thing, though he did not elaborate on what that meant.

Israel's position abroad

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement that Gantz is giving Israel's enemies what they want. When asked if he was worried that his departure would affect Israel's standing abroad, Gantz said that both Galant and Netanyahu know what needs to be done.