update deskIsrael at War

Smotrich, Ben-Gvir open to unity government ’to defeat our enemies’

"Israel in an emergency. We must unite and win," said National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Betzalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir attend the Otzma Yehudit Party's campaign event in Bat Yam, April 06, 2019. Photo by Gili Yaari /Flash90.
Betzalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir attend the Otzma Yehudit Party's campaign event in Bat Yam, April 06, 2019. Photo by Gili Yaari /Flash90.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leaders of the right wing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, on Monday echoed calls for a broad emergency government to defeat the Hamas terrorist organization.

“Unity and cohesion are the imperative of the hour in order to defeat our enemies,” tweeted Smotrich, who leads the Religious Zionist Party. “Never mind [negotiation] teams, and never mind negotiations.”

“I call on Prime Minister Netanyahu and [National Unity Party leader] Benny Gantz to rise to the occasion, meet immediately and agree on the establishment of a national emergency government that will unite the people, raise the [national] spirit, give full support to the [Israel Defense Forces] and bring about the complete elimination of Hamas and the terrorist organizations in Gaza,” he added.

Otzma Yehudit Party chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir put out a statement saying he would “welcome” a broad emergency government if the “stated goal is the total defeat of Hamas and the shattering of its military and political might.”

“Israel in an emergency. We must unite and win,” said Ben-Gvir.

On Saturday morning, Hamas terrorists infiltrated several Israeli communities, taking at least 100 hostages back to Gaza. At least 800 people were killed in shootouts and rocket attacks, and the death toll continues to climb.

On Sunday, Avigdor Liberman, leader of the opposition Yisrael Beiteinu Party, likewise said that he would join a unity government “with no conditions” as long as its aim was the total destruction of the Hamas terrorist organization.

“If the prime minister, the defense minister and the [Israel Defense Forces] chief of staff stand in front of the cameras and inform the people of Israel that the government has decided to eliminate the terrorist organization Hamas and all the terrorist leaders and will not settle for anything less than that, I will join a national emergency government without any conditions,” tweeted Liberman.

On Saturday night, Netanyahu invited opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz to join an emergency government.

Lapid responded that he would support the government during the war.

“At times like these, there is no opposition or coalition in Israel. We will give full backing to the security forces for a harsh response against terrorism and its proxies. Only in this way will we restore security to the residents of the south and to the rest of the country, and bring back the captives and the missing,” said Lapid. 

However, in a swipe at Netanyahu’s coalition partners, Lapid added that he was willing to join “a reduced, professional emergency government” and described the current Cabinet as “extreme and dysfunctional.”

Gantz, who leads the National Unity Party, said he is willing to join an emergency government on the condition that it “deal with security challenges alone.”

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