The first Cabinet meeting of Israel’s unity government on Sunday started with a moment of silence for the victims of the Hamas massacre that began on Oct. 7.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on his fellow lawmakers to rise for the moment of silence before introducing the five ministers sworn in last Thursday for the wartime government, announcing them by their first names: “Benny, Gadi, Chili, Gideon and Yifat.”
They are National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz and his party members Gadi Eizenkot, Gideon Sa’ar, Chili Tropper and Yifat Shasha-Biton.
The new ministers are also serving in the Security Cabinet. Gantz is also a member of a smaller War Cabinet with Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
“We are working around the clock, as a team and a united front. The unity among us sends a clear message to the nation, the enemy and the world,” Netanyahu said.
“I have seen our amazing soldiers who are now on the front line. They know that the entire nation is behind them. They understand the scope of the mission. They are ready to take action at any time in order to defeat the bloodthirsty monsters who have risen against us to destroy us,” the premier continued.
“Hamas thought that we would come apart—we will dismantle Hamas.”
At the start of the meeting, the ministers received a security situation briefing from Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk, head of the IDF Operations Directorate.
Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar on Sunday apologized on behalf of the government to the residents of Israel’s south and the victims of Hamas’s terror assault.
“In the name of the government of Israel, and in the name of the whole State of Israel, we ask your forgiveness for what happened. Because the responsibility is on the government of Israel and the whole State of Israel,” Zohar told Army Radio.
“The preparations were not in place for an attack like this…. The government, the state, was not ready for an attack like this,” he added.
On Friday, Netanyahu gave a rare national televised address during Shabbat.
It was the first time an Israeli premier addressed the nation on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, in three decades.
“We will obliterate Hamas, we will triumph. It might take time, but we will end this war stronger than ever. ‘May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them,'” Netanyahu said from military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
“Shabbat Shalom,” he finished.