Ben Gvir says he’ll resume voting with government, but not for hostage deal

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’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party will resume voting with the coalition, after halting cooperation Wednesday in order to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reveal details of an Israeli proposal for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal.

“In light of what appears to be the rejection of the reckless deal by Hamas and the expected departure of Gantz from the government, Otzma Yehudit will continue to vote with the coalition as usual as long as there is no reckless deal on the table,” the party says in a statement.

“We call to keep increasing military pressure [on Hamas], which has been proven once again to be the only effective tool to return our hostages without surrender,” it adds.

On Wednesday, Otzma Yehudit stated that it would no longer vote with the coalition “in light of the fact that the prime minister is hiding the draft agreement with Hamas that includes a clause to end the war.”

Ben Gvir and other far-right lawmakers have asserted they will not agree to a deal with Hamas that ends the war in exchange for the release of hostages, threatening to bring down the government if such a deal is adopted by the government.

Ben Gvir last week accused Netanyahu of refusing to share details of the deal, asking, “If the deal is not reckless and does not include a commitment to end the war for Hamas’s collapse, why do you refuse to present it to me?”

Hamas has reportedly rejected the proposal for a hostage-ceasefire deal, claiming it was fundamentally different from the deal presented by US President Joe Biden.

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