cabinet shakeup

Gantz set to leave Israeli government as his deadline for postwar plan looms

Netanyahu has made no effort to keep Gantz in the government so far, and a war cabinet meeting set for Thursday was canceled

Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Benny Gantz, former minister of Defense and part of the emergency government attends the funeral for First Sergeant Major Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25 years old, at the Herzliya cemetery on December 8, 2023, in Herzliya, Israel.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz and his National Unity party are threatening to leave the government as early as this weekend, as the June 8 deadline Gantz set last month for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pass a plan for a postwar Gaza approaches.

Last month, Gantz said the plan would need to include six conditions: returning the hostages; destroying Hamas; finding an alternative to Hamas to govern Gaza; allowing for residents of Israel’s north to return home; advancing normalization with Saudi Arabia; and the creation of an outline for Haredim to serve in the IDF. 

As of Friday, the only condition that had been fulfilled was advancing a plan for Haredi enlistment – and it’s a plan that Gantz does not support. The rest of the conditions relate to the Israeli proposal publicly described by President Joe Biden last week, as well as Hezbollah’s escalation in the north, which has led even more Israelis to be evacuated from their homes and increased the chances of a second front opening in the ongoing war.

The Biden administration reportedly expressed concern to Gantz about his possible departure. Einav Zanguaker, the mother of Hamas hostage Matan Zangauker, told Gantz on Thursday: “If you leave [the government]…what will be? You are abandoning Matan to die.” Gantz responded that he is “committed to this struggle, no matter where I am.” 

But Netanyahu has made no effort to keep Gantz in the government so far, and a war cabinet meeting set for Thursday — what would likely have been the last one for Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, a war cabinet observer from his party — was canceled.

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