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Updated May 30, 2024, 5:04pm EDT
securityMiddle East
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Semafor Signals

Israel War Cabinet member Benny Gantz files motion to dissolve parliament

Insights from Al Jazeera, Channel 12, The Jerusalem Post, and Breaking Defense

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Benny Gantz
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
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The News

Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz announced Thursday his centrist National Unity party has introduced a bill to dissolve the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, which would trigger an early election.

It is unclear when lawmakers might vote on the bill, which requires a majority vote to pass. Israeli law stipulates there cannot be another vote for six months if the motion fails.

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A long-time rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gantz joined the emergency War Cabinet shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. But he has since become increasingly critical of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, saying that the government has de-prioritized the safe return of the remaining Israeli hostages.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Gantz is a centrist, but in the Israeli context

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Source:  
Al Jazeera

Gantz’ centrism is not equivalent to Western centrism: Natenyahu’s Likud party and other Israeli nationalists have “gone so right-wing that the center in Israel has changed,” a Middle East Institute think tank fellow told Al Jazeera. Previously serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Israeli Defense Forces, Gantz has overseen two military offensives in Gaza and labeled several Palestinian NGOs terrorist organizations, indicating it is “unlikely” he would improve the conditions for Palestinians living in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera. While he has more international goodwill than Netanyahu, his domestic goals “do not differ that much” from the prime minister.

Netanyahu may be regaining some voter support

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Sources:  
Channel 12, The Jerusalem Post, Bloomberg

Some 36% of Israelis preferred Netanyahu as prime minister, compared to 30% in favor of Gantz, according to a survey conducted by Israeli broadcaster Channel 12. It marks the first time since the Oct. 7 attacks that Netanyahu has appeared to outperform Gantz. It’s possible voters do not necessarily see Gantz as offering radically new policy ideas or being a particularly effective leader, and instead lean on him as a foil for Netanyahu. There is also growing Israeli support for completely eliminating Hamas, and some “seem willing to grant Netanyahu more time to do so,” Bloomberg reported.

Gallant rises as a key opposition figure to Netanyahu

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Source:  
Breaking Defense

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has been more vocally opposed to Netanyahu’s Gaza campaign in recent weeks, suggesting he is “becoming a central political figure should the war cabinet collapse,” according to Breaking Defense. Gallant appears more concerned about Israel’s global reputation, specifically its increasingly contentious relationship with the United States and the risk of losing military aid if Netanyahu continues to provoke Washington. But observers say Gallant’s political ambiguity is likely a weakness: There is no clear indication he is willing to unseat Netanyahu by striking an alliance with Gantz, for example, and he too has not outlined a comprehensive plan on how to end the war.


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