ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Smotrich urges emergency unity government with Gantz; Ben Gvir sets condition

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior opposition figure MK Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and defense minister, to immediately form an emergency government to manage the war.

The statement comes after a televised address by Gantz last night, in which he said he had told the prime minister on Saturday 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.”

“Unity and cohesion are the imperative of the hour in order to defeat our enemies,” Smotrich says in a statement. “Never mind [negotiation] teams, and never mind negotiations.”

Opposition Yisrael Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman also said Sunday he would join the current government. But he conditioned his support on Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi publicly announcing that the government intends to “eliminate the Hamas terror organization and all its terrorist leaders” and will not suffice with anything less.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Netanyahu’s second senior far-right partner, echoes Liberman’s conditions, saying in a statement this morning that he will agree to a unity government only if its “stated goal is the total defeat of Hamas and the shattering of its military and political might.”

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