Jerusalem, Oct 11 (EFE).- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed an emergency wartime government on Wednesday with top opposition leader Benny Gantz for the duration of an ongoing military conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
In a joint statement, Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, a retired general and former defense minister who leads the National Unity party, announced their agreement to form a small wartime cabinet after extensive negotiations.
The Israeli military launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas following the Palestinian group’s multi-pronged assault and incursion into Israel on Saturday morning, resulting in several deaths, including civilians, and approximately 100 kidnappings.
The newly formed cabinet will consist of Netanyahu, Gantz, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, according to the statement. Their primary responsibility will be overseeing the conflict with Palestinian militants in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The fate of the remainder of Netanyahu’s current ruling partners, comprising various far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties, remains unclear, but they are expected to continue managing matters unrelated to the war.
The statement notes that Gantz, former justice minister Gideon Saar, former army chief Gadi Eisenkot, and two other lawmakers will join the government’s political and security cabinet for the war’s duration. All of them are members of Gantz’s center-right National Unity party.
The war cabinet will be composed of Netanyahu, Gantz, and current Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Eisenkot and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer will serve as observers in the cabinet.
A position in the war management cabinet has been reserved for Yair Lapid, one of the two most prominent members of the opposition to Netanyahu’s coalition in parliament, alongside Gantz.
Negotiations for Lapid’s inclusion have not concluded, with local media reports suggesting disagreements with Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners.
The agreement stipulates that, during the war, no bills or government decisions unrelated to the conflict can be advanced.
The conflict, which commenced with a surprise attack by the Islamist group Hamas on Saturday, has entered its fifth day and has resulted in over 1,200 casualties in Israel and at least 1,055 in the Gaza Strip.
The war, which began on Saturday with a bloody surprise attack by the Islamist movement, has entered its fifth day and has resulted in over 1,200 death in Israel and at least 1,055 in the Gaza Strip.
Gantz was a previous ruling partner of Netanyahu, but their internal disputes, coupled with Netanyahu’s failure to honor a rotation agreement, led to the dissolution of the coalition.
Gantz has since remained on the opposition and declined multiple offers to join his government.
Amid controversies surrounding judicial reforms initiated by Netanyahu’s government, Gantz has emerged as a political figure garnering significant popular support in various polls. EFE