update deskIsrael at War

Israeli FM calls for unity: Now is not the time for elections

Israel is in the middle of a war to defeat Hamas and to bring the hostages home. An election wouldn't contribute to either goal, Israel Katz said.

Then-Energy Minister Israel Katz attends a conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Then-Energy Minister Israel Katz attends a conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

It is too early to talk about elections. This moment necessitates unity, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Monday.

Israel has paid a terrible price in fallen soldiers, murdered civilians and violated women, Katz told Ynet, and only by “standing together” can it maintain the “amazing achievements that our soldiers and our commanders brought us in battle.”

Katz spoke in response to a question about the demonstrations on Sunday outside the Knesset demanding early elections and the replacement of the government.

“I think these things are too early, and they are not correct, because we are in the middle of the military campaign, right in the middle, and on the frontline for the release of the hostages, which is also a global front,” he said.

Katz said he had put the issue of hostages at the top of his ministry’s priorities. “We work day and night together with the entire office team, all over the world and here as well. There is no meeting with a foreign minister who comes here, and they come a lot, in which I don’t include hostages’ families.”

He said that he is also fighting abroad to prevent the issue of freeing the hostages from being separated from calls for a ceasefire, as happened at the U.N. Security Council last Monday, during a vote that passed because the United States refrained from employing its veto.

The U.S. later denied its abstention involved any change in policy.

“We need to understand, if … an authorized body like the Security Council makes a decision on a unilateral ceasefire without conditioning it on the release of hostages, we have lost. The whole internal argument will be completely irrelevant,” Katz said.

He described the hostages’ families as the most meaningful and valuable asset that Israel has and said he has watched them as they meet with ministers despite what they are enduring.

The foreign minister will travel soon with hostages’ families to Italy to meet with the Vatican’s secretary of state and other senior officials of the Holy See. Such visits put pressure on Qatar, Egypt and others to in turn put pressure on Hamas, he said.

While he supports those hostages’ families who choose to protest, Katz said early elections will not help the war effort or their efforts to bring their loved ones home.

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