Israel minister resigns from Netanyahu's coalition government

He resigned after being excluded from the war cabinet.

Seri Mazliana | March 26, 2024, 12:59 PM



Israel minister and leader of conservative Israel party New Hope, Gideon Saar, announced his resignation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency coalition government during a press conference on Mar. 24 (Singapore time).

Saar joined the coalition after the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas terror attacks in Israel, but decided to leave as his requests to be appointed to the war cabinet were not fulfilled, reported Israel media outlet The Times of Israel.

According to Reuters, Saar had joined the coalition with some opposition members to help manage the Gaza conflict.

Saar's resignation comes two weeks after his split with Minister Benny Gantz's party, National Unity, on Mar. 12.

Sees no possibility to "influence the direction of policy"

At the press conference, Saar said that "military progress has slowed down" under Netanyahu's direction, reported The Times of Israel.

He added that slowing down efforts has affected Jerusalem's deal for the release of hostages, and said that the way the government has managed the war is “contrary to the national interest.”

Saar said: "Hamas’s takeover of humanitarian aid also distances us from the overthrow of its rule. We have been warning about this for months."

He claimed that his security cabinet was mostly excluded from "the navigation of the campaign in favour of the limited war cabinet."

“Therefore, we demanded two weeks ago to join the war cabinet so that I could bring to the table my experience from five cabinets over the last 25 years."

Saar's input over the war direction was "constantly rejected"

Netanyahu had reportedly considered including Saar in the war cabinet until National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir also demanded to be included if Saar joined.

The war cabinet consists of Netanyahu, Gantz, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and a few observers.

According to Israel newspaper The Jerusalem Post, Saar's demands to change the war direction during cabinet meetings were constantly rejected.

He added that while he takes responsibility for the decisions for the government's decisions after he joined, he cannot bear responsibility as long as he does not "have a practical possibility of influencing the direction of policy."

"I just don’t see any use in it anymore. We did not come to the government to warm chairs. We came to the government – which we opposed – to help the people of Israel in a difficult time."

Split from Gantz's party

According to The Times of Israel, Saar's resignation from the coalition comes as "no surprise" as he had separated from Gantz's Blue and White party under the National Unity alliance earlier.

Gantz and Saar had refused to join Netanyahu's government due to his corruption charges, and accused him of trying to undermine Israel's democracy through his proposed judicial overhaul.

However, both men joined the coalition government as an emergency measure following the Oct. 2023 terror attacks and abductions carried out by Hamas.

Saar said that while he "respected his colleagues who represent the National Unity party in the war cabinet…unfortunately, they do not convey the voice, positions and emphasis that I would bring there."

He then requested to join the war cabinet in order to participate in shaping policy.

He added that he intended to "end the partnership with the Blue and White party and immediately re-establish the New Hope faction… as an independent faction, which will clearly express our national and civil worldview."

Saar's departure is not expected to immediately threaten the stability of Netanyahu's government, as he and his allies still control a majority in parliament.

However, his departure may lead to Gantz reconsidering his position, which could affect the coalition government.

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Top photo via Gideon Saar/Facebook