Benny Gantz to Netanyahu: Hold Israeli elections in September

Benny Gantz holds a press conference at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, April 3, 2024 (photo credit: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Published April 3, 2024

Gantz stopped short of saying he would leave the government if the prime minister did not accept his demand.

Israel’s political system should agree to hold a national election in September as it approaches a year since the war against Hamas broke out on October 7, National Unity chairman MK Benny Gantz said in a press conference on Wednesday evening.

The statement marks the first time Gantz mentioned a specific month as a date for an election since joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an emergency government days after the Hamas massacre in October.

Gantz said that he had spoken to “political leaders” in recent weeks on the topic, that he had updated the prime minister, and that he would “continue dialogue on the subject.”

According to Gantz, an agreement to go to an election will give Israel the time it needs to continue its war efforts while enabling the citizens of Israel to know that “trust will soon be renewed between us.”



RELATED: Netanyahu Faces Growing Pressure In Israel As Critics Call For New Elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing growing pressure in Israel over his handling of the Israel-Hamas War, with protests calling for his ouster reaching the halls of Israeli Parliament Wednesday, and Netanyahu’s political rivals calling for new, early elections.

Police try to push back demonstrators in a protest COPYRIGHT 2024 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Published April 3, 2024

During a televised briefing Wednesday, Benny Gantz, a centrist Netanyahu political rival who joined Netanyahu’s right-wing government in a show of unity after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, called for national elections this coming September—Israeli parliament elections are scheduled for October 2026.

Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet and leader of the National Unity party, said the proposed new elections would come just ahead of the year anniversary of the war and would allow Israel to continue the war “while signaling to the citizens of Israel that we will soon renew their trust in us.”

His comments come as days of protests across Israel have brought thousands out to the streets, calling for new elections, increased efforts to secure the release of Israeli hostages captured by Hamas and Netanyahu’s ouster.

On Wednesday, protesters pushed past security inside the Israeli parliament to smear yellow paint on the windows inside the building, calling on the government to secure the release of hostages.

Protests escalated outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem home Tuesday evening into what Israeli police reportedly called a “riot,” prompting Gantz to call for peace on social media.



RELATED: Gantz calls for early elections in September to ‘renew trust’ in government

Netanyahu dismisses coalition partner’s appeal as ‘petty politics,’ claiming elections would harm the war effort, while opposition head Lapid says Israel can’t wait six months

Head of the National Unity party Minister Benny Gantz holds a press conference at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem,
Published April 3, 2024

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz called Wednesday for Israel to hold early elections by September, partially wading into a swell of voices urging the government to step down, in light of wide dissatisfaction with the continued captivity of Israelis in Gaza and questions over how the war against Hamas is being waged.

In a televised press conference, Gantz insisted that going to the polls in some six months would be necessary to “maintain unity” and “renew trust” in the government he joined on an emergency basis following the October 7 onslaught.

The comments came only days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly ruled out elections as a danger to national security, an argument reprised by his Likud party Wednesday night.

“We must agree on a date for elections in September, about a year from the war,” Gantz told reporters in the Knesset. “Setting such a date will allow us to continue the military effort, while signaling to the citizens of Israel that we will soon renew their trust in us.”




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