Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz has called for new elections in September. This will give Israel international support and reduce divisions within society, Gantz said at a press conference.

Gantz’s demands initially have no consequences. The minister also did not threaten to leave the war cabinet if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comply with his demands.

Gantz would benefit from a new election: According to surveys, the center-right National Union party he leads would be by far the strongest faction. According to surveys, Netanyahu’s Likud party is losing massive popularity among voters. If there were new elections – and Gantz could maintain his poll numbers – he would be the next prime minister. The official date for the next parliamentary election in Israel is not until October 2026.

Netanyahu’s party rejects demands

As expected, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party rejected Gantz’s demands. The party said the government would continue until all war goals were achieved. An early election would paralyze the country and divide society, as well as destroy the chance of a deal to release the hostages. The party did not explain why it assumed this.

Israel’s opposition leader Jair Lapid, in turn, said the current government would have to be replaced much sooner, also to bring the hostages back. Many opposition members and relatives of the hostages accuse Netanyahu’s leadership of having no serious interest in securing the release of the people kidnapped into the Gaza Strip.

Many Israelis also accuse Netanyahu of not yet admitting personal responsibility for allowing the Hamas massacre to occur on October 7th.

As an opposition politician at the time, Gantz joined the so-called war cabinet a few days after the start of the Gaza war, which has a say in the most important military decisions. According to observers, the former general plays more of a moderating role.