National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Tuesday threatened to break apart the government if Israel does not restart its war with Hamas, currently on a negotiated pause.
“Stopping the war = breaking apart the government,” he said in a statement.
Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit holds six seats in the coalition, and has three ministers in the 38-member cabinet.
Despite Ben Gvir’s threat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition would survive a Ben Gvir defection assuming the continued support of Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity party, which joined the government amid the war in the Gaza Strip.
Last week, Ben Gvir and Otzma Yehudit’s two other ministers were the only cabinet ministers to oppose an agreement for Hamas to release hostages it seized in the terror group’s October 7 onslaught in southern Israel in exchange for a four-day ceasefire in Gaza, the release of Palestinian prisoners and an increase in the flow of aid into the Strip.
The ceasefire was extended for an additional two days on Monday and talks were held Tuesday in Qatar on a possible further extension. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his war cabinet colleagues and Israeli security chiefs have insisted the fighting in Gaza will resume after the temporary truce, as Israel pursues its twin goals of toppling Hamas and securing the release of the hostages.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.