Netanyahu Dissolves His War Cabinet After Benny Gantz’s Exit

( — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disbanded the War Cabinet formed in the early days of the conflict in Gaza on Monday, just days after former military chief Benny Gantz stepped down over his frustrations with the prime minister’s handling of the war.

According to Israeli government officials, Netanyahu planned to hold smaller meetings on war issues, including with his security cabinet, which includes members of the government who are opposed to any ceasefire deal with Hamas.

The Israeli War Cabinet was established early on in the war when Gantz called for a small decision-making group to steer the course of the war in an attempt to sideline the more hard-line members of the Netanyahu government.

The War Cabinet was made up of three people: Netanyahu, Gantz, and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The involvement of Gantz, then the opposition leader and rival to Netanyahu, was viewed as a show of unity following the deadly October 7 terrorist attacks.

With the centrist Gantz out of the picture, Netanyahu’s reliance on the hard-liners who oppose a ceasefire with Hamas is likely to increase, presenting additional challenges to the Biden administration’s quest for a negotiated end to the eight-month war.

Throughout the war, the prime minister has been forced to balance pressure from the Biden administration, along with the West’s increasing skittishness over the fighting in Gaza, with pressure from his partners in the Israeli government, including from hard-liners like National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who have threatened to topple the Netanyahu government if he agrees to a ceasefire with Hamas.

Gantz initially threatened to leave by June 8 if Netanyahu failed to come up with a plan for post-war Gaza. However, after the daring June 8 operation that rescued four Israeli hostages, Gantz put off his planned press conference.

While Gantz’s departure poses no threat to Netanyahu’s leadership, it did send a shockwave through Israeli politics at a difficult time. It also prompted former Army chief Gadi Eisenkot to step down from his observer role in the War Cabinet.

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