Benny Gantz calls for early elections in Israel

Unlock the Editor’s Digest for free

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, has called for early elections, piling pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his increasingly unpopular right-wing coalition.

Gantz, a former general and the leader of the National Unity party, which leads Netanyahu’s Likud in the polls, said the Israeli public “must know that we will soon return to ask for their trust, that we won’t ignore the disaster of October 7 and what preceded it”.

He said the elections should be held in September, approaching the first anniversary of the start of the war against Hamas in Gaza.

Bringing forward the election, which under current rules should take place in 2026, would, he said, “leave us time to continue the security effort and also allow the citizens of Israel to know that we will soon renew the trust between us”. This, he said, would “prevent a rift in the nation”.

Gantz did not say, however, whether he would leave the war cabinet if he failed to win agreement on scheduling an early election.

In a statement, Likud said: “At such a fateful moment for the state of Israel and in the midst of war, Benny Gantz must stop engaging in petty politics just because his party is disintegrating.”

“Elections now would inevitably lead to paralysis and division, affect the battle for Rafah and fatally damage the chances of a hostage deal,” the party continued. “The government will continue until it has achieved all the goals of the war.”

Gantz’s intervention came as Israel faces massive international criticism over the deaths of seven employees of the World Central Kitchen in Gaza on Monday at the hands of Israeli forces. US President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the killings and said Israel had “not done enough” to protect aid workers and civilians in the enclave.

Gantz’s demand came three days after tens of thousands of Israelis held a rally in Jerusalem that proved to be the biggest protest against Netanyahu’s government since the start of the war.

The protest, organised partly by groups that led a wave of demonstrations last year against the prime minister’s planned judicial reforms, called for early elections and a deal for the release of the roughly 130 hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza.

A former paratrooper who held senior positions in Israel’s military and was chief of staff during the 2014 war with Hamas, Gantz is one of Netanyahu’s main rivals.

However, he agreed to enter a national unity government after the events of October 7, when Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed more than 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials, making it the bloodiest day in the country’s history.

Gantz was speaking after a demonstration on Tuesday night near the prime minister’s residence that was marred by violence. “What is happening in the corridors of power and on the streets is dangerous and must be stopped,” he said.

But he also took a swipe at right-wing critics of the protesters who had condemned their actions. “We mustn’t draw parallels between the demonstrators and our enemies. We have to destroy our enemies. Our brothers we have to listen to.”

Also Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

California deputies shot, killed teen kidnapping victim as she was seen surrendering

Join Fox News for access to this content Plus special access to…

‘I believe in Jesus’: The No. 1 golf player says his golf achievements don’t define him — then he points to the one who does

Scottie Scheffler is the No. 1-ranked golf player in the world, a…

Americans stranded after island cruise excursion, left without money, meds: report

Join Fox News for access to this content Plus special access to…

Paul Simon Recalls Being ‘Exhausted’ in Carrie Fisher Marriage

Paul Simon is looking back at his one-year marriage with Carrie Fisher…