Why Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved Israel’s war cabinet, and what happens next

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun6,2024
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved his six-member war cabinet, an Israeli official has said, in a widely expected move following the departure from government of centrist former general Benny Gantz.
The forum was formed after Gantz joined Netanyahu in a national unity government at the start of the Gaza war in October. It also included Gantz’s political partner Gadi Eisenkot and Aryeh Deri, head of the religious party Shas, as observers.
David Mencer, spokesperson at the prime minister’s office, told reporters the war cabinet had been a “prerequisite” for former army chief and defence minister Gantz to join a unity government.

Eisenkot had also agreed to join the government on condition that a war cabinet be formed, according to Israeli officials.

Gantz and Eisenkot both left the government last week, over what they said was Netanyahu’s failure to form a strategy for the Gaza war.

Netanyahu is preventing us from advancing toward true victory,” Gantz said during a televised news conference.

What happens now?

Mencer said that with Gantz leaving government, there was “no need” for the war cabinet anymore.

Its duties will be taken over by the security cabinet, a pre-existing body, on matters regarding the Hamas-Israel war.

Netanyahu is now expected to hold consultations about the Gaza war with a small group of ministers, including defence minister Yoav Gallant and strategic affairs minister Ron Dermer, who had been in the war cabinet.

“It means that the security cabinet will meet more often. The security cabinet is the body responsible for making decisions (related to the war) anyway,” an Israeli official told the Agence France-Presse.

Pressure from far-right politicians to join cabinet

Netanyahu had faced demands from the nationalist-religious partners in his coalition, finance minister Bezalel Smotrich and national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, to be included in the war cabinet.

A group of protesters march down the street.

The war cabinet’s dissolution comes amid protests in Israel against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, demanding new elections and more action to ensure the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas. Source: AAP / Ohad Zwigenberg/AP

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu dissolved the war cabinet to avoid including far-right coalition members in the sensitive forum, fearing harm to relations with Western allies such as the United States.

Mencer declined to answer when asked if Netanyahu’s decision aimed to rebuff his far-right partners and tighten his grip over decision-making.
An agreement to halt the fighting in Gaza , more than eight months since the 7 October attack on Israel led by Hamas fighters that triggered Israel’s military offensive in the Palestinian enclave.
The 7 October attack killed some 1,200 people and about 250 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s offensive has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health ministry figures, and destroyed much of Gaza.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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