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Israeli war cabinet member calls for new elections as Netanyahu criticism grows

Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz has called for early elections in September, saying the Jewish State needs to renew the people’s trust in their government. 

Speaking in favor of early elections for the first time since he joined the government following the Oct. 7 massacre, Gantz said the elections cannot wait for 2026. 

“We must agree on a date for elections in September, about a year from the war,” Gantz said in a televised briefing on Wednesday. 

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

Gantz’s statement falls in opposition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly rejected calls for early elections, claiming it would interfere with the war effort against Hamas and the ongoing hostage negotiations. 

The war cabinet member, however, suggested an early election would allow Israel to legitimize its standing on the world stage following criticisms over the war in Gaza, as well as provide a chance to oust far-right representatives. 

The calls for an early election in Israel have been gaining steam, with thousands of Israelis gathering over the weekend to host the nation’s largest anti-government protest since the war began. 

Along with demanding the immediate release of the 134 hostages who remain in Gaza, the protesters also called for early elections as they marched around the Knesset, Israel’s parliament building. 

During the protests, Netanyahu warned residents that early elections would only make the war, which is approaching its sixth month, last longer. 

“The calls to hold elections now, in the height of the war, a step away from victory, will paralyze Israel for at least six months — I assess, eight months,” Netanyahu claimed.

The pressure for early elections have also come from outside Israel, with US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for elections to replace Netanyahu last month. 

The top Democrat in Congress accused Netanyahu of losing focus and aligning himself with “far-right extremists,” to the point where his leadership threatens to turn Israel into “a pariah.”  

“Five months into this conflict, it is clear that Israelis need to take stock of the situation and ask, must we change course?” Schumer said. “At this critical juncture, I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel.”  

With Post wires


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