Gantz’s misguided departure: Gallant won’t follow him, and Netanyahu couldn’t care less

L-R Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister Benny Gantz attend a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, December 16, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Published June 10, 2024
The National Unity leader was a vital presence in the war cabinet, and had no good reason to leave now; he’s just empowered the far-right, with devastating potential consequences

In the course of his unconvincing departure speech on Sunday, Benny Gantz attempted to begin the work of dismantling the government he was leaving behind.

Like Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, Gantz apparently believes that by working via a constructive vote of no confidence or by mustering a Knesset majority, he can engineer early elections, and he issued a direct plea to a first potential candidate to cross the lines.

“Yoav, you are a determined and courageous patriot,” Gantz commended Defense Minister Gallant, his erstwhile war cabinet colleague. “I learned to appreciate you even more in recent months. Do the right thing.”

The “right thing,” according to Gantz, would be for Gallant to leave the Likud party and help bring down the government from the outside. But that’s not going to happen.

Gallant thinks exactly what Gantz does of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But he won’t defect from Likud.

In recent weeks, Gallant’s position within the party has actually been strengthening, and he is becoming the unofficial leader of the non-Netanyahu camp. This is reflected in internal polls, where he’s been coming in toward the bottom of the party’s top 10.



RELATED: Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz quits emergency government

Published June 9,  2024

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz has quit the emergency government in a sign of deepening divisions over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s post-conflict plans for Gaza.

Speaking during a news conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday where he announced his resignation, Mr Gantz said the decision was made with a “heavy heart”.

“Unfortunately, Mr Netanyahu is preventing us from approaching true victory, which is the justification for the painful ongoing crisis,” he said.

Considered by some to be a potential challenger for power in Israel, Mr Gantz called on Mr Netanyahu to set a date for elections.



RELATED: Why the departure of Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz does – and doesn’t – matter

What Benny Gantz’s departure means for Netanyahu and hostage negotiations
Published June 9, 2024

Gone from the war cabinet. Gone from the government. Benny Gantz is back where he was at the start of the war Hamas launched on October 7: an ex-defence minister, ex chief of staff – and Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s chief political rival.

You can’t say he didn’t warn us. On May 18, he announced that if Netanyahu didn’t come up with a coherent plan to bring the hostages home and the governance of a post-war Gaza (among other things), then he’d leave the war cabinet by June 8. In light of Saturday’s rescue of four Israeli hostages, he delayed making good on his threat. By a day.

“Leaving the government is a complex and painful decision,” Gantz said in a televised statement on Sunday evening in Israel.

“Netanyahu prevents us from moving forward to a real victory [in Gaza]. That is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart, but with a whole heart.”

So what now? The three most pressing areas of interest where Gantz’s resignation may be felt – at least for Israelis, the Palestinians in Gaza, and the outside world – are the Israeli government, the running of the war with Hamas, and Gantz’s own political prospects.

Perhaps the most important impact of Gantz’s departure is the one it won’t have: it won’t cause the government to collapse.

“Benny Gantz is in a fix,” former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller told CNN on Sunday before Gantz’s resignation.

“He would like to remain in the government, he brings a sort of moderating hand, but he does not have the potential right now to down the government.”

That’s because Netanyahu and his coalition partners still have 64 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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