What’s going to happen in Israeli politics now Gantz has quit the coalition

The trust has gone in the war cabinet


The war cabinet member recently visited Washington DC to discuss Israel's Gaza war (Photo: Getty Images)

June 10, 2024 09:15

It wasn't a question of if but a question of when. Already in the first week of the war, people close to the National Unity Party of Benny Gantz briefed me: "We know that Netanyahu will lie to us, we know he will try and take credit for the good things, and blame us for the bad stuff, but we still believe this is the right thing to do – and join Netanyahu's right-wing coalition in an act of unity".

What's surprising, though, is the fact that Gantz is leaving the government when there seems to be no hostage deal in sight – and major decision regarding the "day after" scenario in Gaza will have to be made and the crucial question of rather Israel should go to an all-out war in Lebanon seems to be reaching the point when a decision will have to be made.

Also, the negotiations for a hostage deal, which caused endless debates between Gantz and Netanyahu has reached the point that the new outline-proposal sent to Hamas has been agreed upon by all sides of the war cabinet, and is seen by all of then as the last, and maximum, proposal, which Israel can offer Hamas. So, why now?

It's all about the trust. Not that Gantz and Netanyahu were the two most trusted friends in the world, especially when you look at their unity government during the Covid-19 crises, but Gantz decided to give Netanyahu a second chance because of the war.

Now, after eight months, it seems Gantz got to the point that he cannot work with Netanyahu and feels, and he is quite right about it, that he isn't a real part of the decision making process.

"It also feels like Smotrich and Ben Gvir have a representative in the government – Netanyahu", told me a close aid of Gantz. The big question now is what is what will happen to Gantz politically – and more important: How will Gantz leaving the coalition effect prime minister Netanyahu coalition?

 Gantz has been steadily slipping in the polls – from 40 MKs projection in the beginning of the war, to less then 30 now, sometimes even getting close to Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud party. He probably cannot go up, at least in the coming weeks, but can he go down? Meaning – will voters who gave him their voice because he joined the coalition will leave him and vote for other parties now that the act of unity is over.

And as for Prime Minister Netanyahu? His coalition seem stable as long as two things happen – Hamas will say no to a hostage deal, and an agreement of a draft law for the strictly Orthodox. If one of them does not happen, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir parties might quit over the hostage deal approval and the strictly Orthodox might quit if there will be a problematic draft law, or if the budgets will stop flowing to the yeshivahs.

One last thing: Gantz joining the coalition on October 11, just four days after the horrific massacre of October 7 was an important step for the Israeli public. A feeling of unity after months of street fighting and protests due to the judicial reform. Now, it seems, Israel is back to square one. And that’s a tragic event in times when Israel is facing enemies, international legal action and massive international pressure on it to stop fighting.

June 10, 2024 09:15

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