Israeli Minister Benny Gantz Quits Netanyahu’s Coalition

Centrist minister Benny Gantz has announced his resignation from PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the lack of a plan for Gaza after the war is over. His resignation will not pose any immediate threat to Netanyahu’s government.

Israeli Minister Benny Gantz Quits Netanyahu’s Coalition

Israeli minister Benny Gantz announced his resignation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency unity government on June 9, leading to the exit of the only centrist element in an otherwise far-right government. 

Gantz’s departure will not immediately threaten Netanyahu’s coalition, but it will leave Netanyahu overly reliant on far-right hardliners – which could not only prolong the war in Gaza, but also increase the likelihood of a possible escalation with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Gantz, a retired IDF chief of staff and the leader of the center-right National Unity party, had threatened his departure from the coalition by giving Netanyahu a deadline – June 8 – to suggest a strategy for Gaza after the end of the war. Netanyahu dismissed the ultimatum only a few days after Gantz gave it.

Gantz has now followed through on the threat, accusing Netanyahu of putting his own personal political ambitions and survival ahead of a post-war strategy for the Gaza Strip, claiming that “fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitancy and procrastination due to political considerations.” He also urged Netanyahu to hold an election in the coming months.

“I call on Netanyahu: set an agreed election date. Do not let our people be torn apart,” Gantz said.

Gantz’s departure will strain Israeli relations with the United States, as Gantz was one of the few Israeli political leaders who enjoyed the confidence of the Biden administration.

"Netanyahu is preventing us from advancing toward true victory… That is why we are leaving the emergency government today, with a heavy heart but with full confidence,” said Gantz in a televised statement.

Netanyahu’s coalition now controls only 64 of 120 seats in the Knesset, with Likud holding on to 32. Netanyahu will be even more dependent on the ultra-nationalist far-right parties after Gantz’s departure.

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has demanded Gantz’s vacant cabinet seat after the resignation was announced.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich responded to the resignation by saying that Gantz was giving Israel’s enemies what they wanted.