Ben Gvir excitedly awaits Gantz departure to reclaim sway over government

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir seen during Jerusalem Day celebrations outside the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, June 5, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir seen during Jerusalem Day celebrations outside the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, June 5, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says he will demand increased say over government decisions, including in the war cabinet, following the National Unity party’s expected exit from the government this evening.

After National Unity leader and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz quits, “I will demand that [the electoral strength I hold] be given expression and not as it has been until now,” the far-right minister states at the Muni Expo 2024 conference in Tel Aviv — adding that if those in power had listened to him “maybe October 7 would have looked different.”

Gantz’s entry into the government shortly after war broke out in October diluted Ben Gvir’s influence by giving the government enough support to maintain a majority even if his ultranationalist Otzma Yehudit party bolted the coalition. With Gantz’s exit, that coalition calculus will change, once again making Netanyahu reliant on Ben Gvir for his government’s survival.

Ben Gvir says that his vision is to “conquer Gaza and [go to] war with Hezbollah,” adding that if Netanyahu agrees to a “reckless” hostage deal, “I’m not there.”

He also offers Gantz a good riddance, welcoming his impending resignation.

“We agreed that he would enter the government, and we thought he came to create unity, but in reality he came to create chaos and promote his political agenda,” Ben Gvir says, according to Hebrew media. “I think their departure is important, and I need to return to being a leading force like I was before Gantz entered the government.”

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