Breaking with coalition, Israeli minister calls for new elections this fall

Likud blasts Benny Gantz over call for snap elections later this year: ‘Elections will lead to paralysis and disunity.’

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

An Israeli minister called for new general elections this fall, sparking a row within the ruling coalition Wednesday evening.

In a press conference, Minister Without Portfolio Benny Gantz (National Unity) responded to recent protests outside of the Knesset and the Prime Minister’s Residence demanding new elections, arguing that the Coalition and Opposition should reach a mutually agreed upon date for a Knesset election sometime in September.

“In order for us to maintain unity, the public must know that we will soon come and ask for their trust,” Gantz said.

“Let us not ignore October 7th. For this reason, we must agree on an election date sometime in September, roughly a year after the war started.”

“Setting such a date will allow us to continue the military campaign, while signaling to the citizens of Israel that we will soon renew their trust in us.”

The Likud party responded shortly afterwards, lambasting Gantz’s call for snap elections, hinting that his comments were linked to the recent split in the National Unity faction, with the departure of MK Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope faction.

“At this fateful moment for the State of Israel and in the midst of a war, Benny Gantz must stop engaging in petty politics just because his party is disintegrating,” the Likud said Wednesday night.

“Early elections will inevitably lead to paralysis  and disunity, in addition to harming [the planned operation in] Rafah and dealing a fatal blow to the chances of a hostage deal.”

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid criticized Gantz’s proposal, saying the government must resign immediately and new elections scheduled as soon as possible.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls by protesters for new elections, saying a snap vote would only benefit Hamas.

“Calls for elections now during the war, a moment before victory, will paralyze Israel for at least six months; in my estimate, for eight months,” Netanyahu said.

“They will paralyze the negotiations for the release of our hostages and in the end will lead to ending the war before achieving its goals and the first to commend this will be Hamas, and that says it all.”