Home west asia Netanyahu’s Top Rival Benny Gantz Calls For Early Elections

Netanyahu’s Top Rival Benny Gantz Calls For Early Elections

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz

Upping the pressure on Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz has called for elections in September stating the need for maintaining unity and keeping people’s trust in the government.

Gantz, a former general and the leader of the National Unity party, has said that the Israeli public needs to know that we need to soon “return for their trust”.

He emphasised the need for bringing forward elections, which normally would had taken place in 2026, but did not mention whether he would leave the war cabinet if no agreement is reached on bringing forward elections.

Gantz agreed to enter the be part of the national unity government after Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed more than 1,200 people. The Israeli offensive since then has killed over 32,000 people, mostly children and women.

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The minister said that he has already held discussions on the issue with Netanyahu in recent weeks. The early elections, Gantz believed, would provide Tel Aviv with international legitimacy in the view of ongoing operations in Gaza.

The demand for holding elections has also come at a time when Israeli forces are facing a massive backlash following the death of seven employees of the World Central Kitchen in Gaza. Chef Jose Andres, founder of the World Central Kitchen aid agency said that Israeli forces systematically targeted our volunteers car by car.

Gantz demand came three days after tens of thousands of Israelis, mostly those who led protests last year against the prime minister’s planned judicial reforms, held a rally in Jerusalem that proved to be the biggest protest against Netanyahu’s government since the start of the war.

Netanyahu has so far rejected the prospects of early elections claiming that it would prevent Israel from defeating Hamas. The government is also facing increasing pressure from the US and the EU over conducting a possible ground offensive in Rafah.