update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu invites opposition leaders into ‘broad emergency government’

Earlier on Saturday, Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid called for such a political constellation.

Then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) and then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid during a vote at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Dec. 13, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) and then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid during a vote at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Dec. 13, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has invited the Yesh Atid and National Unity parties to join a “broad emergency government” after an unprecedented attack from the Hamas terrorist group left at least 250 Israelis dead and over 1,500 wounded on Saturday.

Netanyahu extended the offer during a security briefing with the leaders of the two opposition parties earlier in the day.

In making his offer, Netanyahu referred to the national unity government that was formed between then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and opposition leader Menachem Begin on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War.

In response, the National Unity Party said it was considering the option of joining Netanyahu’s coalition, with party leader Benny Gantz insisting that the unity government deal only with the security situation and be based on a “substantive partnership and [his party having] influence over decision-making in relevant forums.”

In a statement issued earlier on Saturday, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called for a national unity government to “conduct the difficult, complex and protracted campaign before us.”

The opposition leader said that establishing an emergency unity government will send a message to Israel’s enemies and the world that Israel stands united behind the Israel Defense Forces and the security establishment.

Lapid also took aim at members of Netanyahu’s current coalition.

“Netanyahu knows that with the extreme and dysfunctional composition of the current Cabinet, it is impossible to wage war. The State of Israel needs to be led by a professional, experienced and responsible political echelon,” he said.

“I have no doubt that former Defense Minister Benny Gantz will also join such a government,” Lapid said.

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