ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Gantz says small ‘war cabinet,’ legislative freeze are conditions for unity government

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

MK Benny Gantz’s National Unity proposes that in order for it to join an emergency unity government, a small “war cabinet” must be created, with representatives from its party as well as “relevant ministers” chosen by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that will direct the war against Hamas.

Most of the powers for conducting a war would need to be delegated to this war cabinet, the party says in a statement to the press made following a meeting earlier today between representatives of National Unity and Netanyahu’s Likud to discuss the entry of Gantz’s party into the government.

The party says it is proposing that its representatives be made ministers without portfolios, as opposed to taking new or current cabinet positions, for the duration of the war.

National Unity party leader Benny Gantz speaks while touring northern Israel, October 3, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Additionally, legislation not connected to the war cannot be passed in the Knesset during the tenure of this emergency government, National Unity stipulates, a seeming reference to the government’s highly controversial judicial overhaul agenda.

National Unity adds that it will give its full backing to the government and the security forces during the war regardless of whether it ends up joining or not.

Netanyahu said Saturday night that he had offered both National Unity and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party the option of joining the government, but little progress has been made toward that goal since then.

Yesh Atid says it will not join a government that includes the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties, essentially calling on Netanyahu to oust them from his cabinet before it will join.

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