After being publicly urged by fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz to rethink a budget update that leaves over NIS 1 billion in discretionary coalition funds for political favors intact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims there is plenty of money to go around for everyone.
“It’s a giant budget. There is no shortage of money” for the war effort, Netanyahu says, noting that it allocated NIS 30 billion to the war effort for the final month and a half of the year.
In the future, there will be more money allocated, he adds.
Despite the disagreement, Netanyahu and Gantz claim that there is “full cooperation” within the war cabinet.
Netanyahu also says he and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant are “working with full cooperation” even though they held separate press conferences on Saturday night.
He says Gallant shares all three of his war aims — destroying Hamas, returning the hostages and ensuring no future threat from Gaza.
Gallant is widely reported to have wanted Israel to first tackle Hezbollah in the north before turning to Hamas in Gaza, and to have been blocked by Netanyahu.
The premier vows that security will be restored to both the north and south.
He cites “active deterrence” in the north against Hezbollah, while the IDF pursues crushing victory in the south. “This is the path to the victory we seek.”
He again says that “after the war, everyone, including me, will have to give answers” about the debacle of October 7.
Until then, “I will continue to lead” Israel through the war, and “everyone can see how things are advancing.”
“Of course, we could give Hamas what it wants… You know exactly what it wants,” Netanyahu says, implying that Hamas wants to see him gone and the reemergence of a governmental and social crisis in Israel.
“I don’t think we should give it what it wants. I think we have to bring what we want — crushing victory, the return of the hostages, and a promise that the continuation [in Gaza] will be different.”
Gallant says he, as defense minister, is responsible for what happened before, on and after October 7.
“This team,” he says of himself and his colleagues, can bring victory. After that, there will be a lot of questions to answer and lessons to be learned, he says.
Regarding just-announced US sanctions on settler extremists, Gantz urges the US not to speak of “settler violence” because, he says, “more than 99 percent of them are normative, law-abiding people.” He condemns settler extremist violence.
Gallant says only the IDF, police and security hierarchies have the right to use force. “There are extremists,” he says, “some of whom are not from the settlements.”
“We have to restrain all illegal violence,” Gallant says, adding that Israel doesn’t need others to tell it to do so.