Netanyahu tells ministers he’s disbanding war cabinet, amid Ben Gvir’s demands to join

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Illustrative: Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir at a vote in the Knesset plenum, December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/File)
Illustrative: Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir at a vote in the Knesset plenum, December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the security cabinet last night that the war cabinet — the small forum created on October 11 to manage the campaigns against Hamas and Hezbollah — has been officially disbanded, the Prime Minister’s Office tells The Times of Israel.

The establishment of a narrow war cabinet was a core demand of National Unity party chair Benny Gantz to join the coalition.

Gantz, one of the three cabinet members, bolted the coalition last week, taking with him Gadi Eisenkot, one of the three war cabinet observers.

Now that the emergency unity government is no more, the war cabinet that emerged as part of that arrangement is no longer relevant, a PMO official explains.

The dissolution was anticipated, as far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has been lobbying to be added to the forum.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will hold small ad hoc consultations with other relevant officials to make key decisions on the war, while seeking final approval from the wider security cabinet.

According to Ynet, Ben Gvir would be kept out of these consultations as well.

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