Deri calls on Gantz not to leave coalition: ‘We’ll do everything to return hostages home’

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"

Following today’s daring daylight rescue of four hostages from the central Gaza Strip, Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri calls on National Unity chairman Benny Gantz not to leave the emergency coalition, as he had been widely expected to do tonight.

Promising that the government “will continue to do everything to return all the hostages home,” Deri appeals to Gantz “to retract his intention to resign from the government.”

“This is not the time for elections,” he says, stating that “Israel is still in the middle of a challenging campaign in the south and in the north and internal unity among us is critical in the continuation of the war, on the frontlines and on the home front.”

“Only together we will win,” he insists.

Gantz was due to deliver a public announcement this evening in which he was widely expected to announce his exit from the government. He canceled his press conference following the announcement of the rescue operation.

Following the rescue, the prime minister tweeted a plea to Gantz not to leave, stating that it was “the time for unity and not for division.”

In response, Gantz replied that “alongside the justified joy in the achievement, we must remember that all the challenges Israel faces have remained as they were. Therefore, I tell the prime minister and the entire leadership — today, too, we must consider responsibly how it is best and possible to continue from here.”

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