Centrist Israeli minister Benny Gantz announced Sunday that he was resigning from the emergency government because of what he has described as a lack of a plan from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the “day after” in Gaza.

During a televised news conference, Gantz announced he was resigning from the coalition government, taking with him his State Party and the seats it held in the Knesset. Netanyahu’s coalition government will still retain a majority, but the move by Gantz is considered a major blow to the prime minister.

“Netanyahu is preventing us from progressing towards a true victory,” Gantz said. “For this reason, we are leaving the emergency government today, with a heavy heart, yet wholeheartedly.”

He also called on Netanyahu to set a date for elections.

Gantz was set to make the announcement on Saturday but called it off amid the news of an Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza that led to the rescue of four Israeli hostages.

Gantz is a member of Israel’s three-member war Cabinet, which includes Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

On Saturday, Netanyahu appealed to Gantz on X, saying, “This is the time for unity and not for division. We must remain united within ourselves in the face of the great tasks before us. I call on Benny Gantz — do not leave the emergency government. Don’t give up on unity.”

Following Gantz’s resignation, Netanyahu released a statement on X, saying, “Israel is in an existential war on several fronts.”

“Benny, this is not the time to abandon the campaign — this is the time to join forces,” Netanyahu said. “Citizens of Israel, we will continue until victory and the achievement of all the goals of the war, primarily the release of all our hostages and the elimination of Hamas.”

Netanyahu added, “My door will remain open to any Zionist party that is ready to get under the stretcher and assist in bringing victory over our enemies and ensuring the safety of our citizens.”

In May, Gantz issued an ultimatum to Netanyahu, saying he would resign if the prime minister did not approve a post-war plan by June 8, saying at the time, “While the Israeli soldiers show supreme bravery on the front, some of the men who sent them into battle behave with cowardice and irresponsibility.”

-ABC News’ Jordana Miller



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