update deskIsrael at War

After Gantz exit, Netanyahu disbands War Cabinet

Discussions on the war will continue to take place in a small forum, which will include Netanyahu and three other former War Cabinet members.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the War Cabinet at the IDF's Tel Aviv headquarters, April 14, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the War Cabinet at the IDF's Tel Aviv headquarters, April 14, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed members of his government of his intent to dissolve the War Cabinet set up after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack.

The premier told ministers on Sunday that the powerful forum, which was established when National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz joined the wartime government in October, had become obsolete following the latter’s June 9 decision to return to the opposition.

Discussions on the war will continue to take place in a small forum with the participation of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and Shas Party chairman Aryeh Deri, Kan News reported. The latter two have served as War Cabinet observer members in the past months.

Announcing his decision to exit the government last week, Gantz accused Netanyahu of preventing the Israel Defense Forces from reaching “true victory” on the southern and northern borders.

Following Gantz’s departure, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir expressed the desire for his Otzma Yehudit Party to join the War Cabinet, saying, “I will demand that our power be expressed. I need to go back and be a leading force like we were before Gantz came in.”

Speaking to journalists at the Knesset in Jerusalem last week, Ben-Gvir said that he believed “the solution is really that we will enter this [War] Cabinet and be able to have even more influence.”

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who heads the right-wing Religious Zionism Party, has also repeatedly demanded that the War Cabinet be expanded to include representatives from each coalition party.

Decisions made by the new war management forum, which Channel 12 News said would be called “Hamitbahon,” will be submitted to the broader Security Cabinet, which includes Smotrich and Ben-Gvir.

Hamitbahon” translates as “the kitchenette” and has been used in the past to refer to smaller advisory forums to the Security Cabinet. The term comes from former prime minister Golda Meir’s custom of summoning senior officials to her kitchen on Friday nights.

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