ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Gantz says he will join emergency government if he is given real authority

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

MK Benny Gantz attends an Israel Hayom conference in Jerusalem, September 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Benny Gantz attends an Israel Hayom conference in Jerusalem, September 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Unity party leader and former defense minister Benny Gantz says he is willing to join the government in the wake of Hamas’ assault on Israel, on condition that his party is given real influence in directing the war against the terror militia in Gaza.

The National Unity leader says he told the prime minister yesterday that he would be willing to join the government “with the intention of establishing a war cabinet that will direct the battlefront against Gaza and other fronts,” Gantz says in an address broadcast tonight.

“At this time, when the best of our sons and daughters are enlisting in the reserves, when we are eulogizing hundreds of dead, when we are all praying for the well-being of thousands of wounded, kidnapped and missing, we must take responsibility and enlist as leaders as well,” he says.

“If we are given the real opportunity to influence and participate in the management of the war we will be there till the end,” he adds.

Gantz, who also served as IDF chief of staff, appears to be hesitating over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer yesterday for him to join the government, along with the Yesh Atid party, and is insistent that he and senior party members play a major role in shaping Israel’s response to the attack before committing to join a Netanyahu-led cabinet again.

Gantz joined a short-lived Netanyahu-led government in May 2020 to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic and in a deal which was to see him become prime minister after 18 months, but the government collapsed in June 2021 before that could happen, after Netanyahu refused to approve the state budget.

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