Israel’s War Cabinet ‘Dissolved’

By Yoni Weiss

From left, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and MK Benny Gantz speak during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the dissolution of the war cabinet during a Sunday meeting with the National Security Cabinet (NSC), a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed on Monday.

“The cabinet was part of the coalition agreement with [National Unity MK Benny] Gantz at his request. Now that Gantz has left, there’s no need for the cabinet anymore,” Netanyahu reportedly said during the meeting.

Netanyahu indicated that there will not be a new cabinet formed from the leaders of the coalition parties, an idea previously proposed by ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir. Instead, the statutory security cabinet will meet more frequently, and Netanyahu will hold ad-hoc “security consultations” as necessary, according to the spokesperson.

This move is widely seen as Netanyahu’s strategy to deflect demands from Ben-Gvir and Smotrich to join the war cabinet. The prime minister had previously withheld some sensitive information from the security cabinet due to concerns about leaks, and it remains to be seen how this will be managed going forward.

The dissolved war cabinet included Gantz and fellow National Unity MK Gadi Eisenkot, as well as Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer. Shas chairman Rabbi Aryeh Deri was an observer at the war cabinet meetings.

During the government’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu stated, “In order to reach the goal of eliminating Hamas’ capabilities, I made decisions that were not always acceptable to the military echelon.”

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