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Four Senior Israeli Officials Resign Over the Weekend

Despite a successful hostage rescue operation, cabinet members say Netanyahu is mishandling the war effort

Four Senior Israeli Officials Resign Over the Weekend

As pressure mounts to secure a deal that will result in the return of hostages captured last October, the Netanyahu administration has been rocked by multiple resignations from key officials.

The high-profile departures, all announced this past weekend, came within days of a military operation that resulted in the liberation of four hostages kidnapped by Hamas. The hostages were safely returned home alive, though the rescue effort resulted in the deaths of at least 274 Palestinians and an Israeli commando.

Top officials fleeing in such quick succession underscore the growing tension within the Israeli government and deals a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who faces increasing pressure to ink a ceasefire agreement and a deal that will free all remaining hostages.

Benny Gantz

National Unity Chairman Benny Gantz resigned, slamming Netanyahu and accusing him of preventing Israel from achieving “total victory” in the war against Hamas.

“After October 7, just like hundreds of thousands of patriotic Israelis, my colleagues and I mobilized as well” and joined the coalition, “even though we knew it was a bad government,” Gantz said, as reported by the Times of Israel.

Gantz was expected to resign Saturday, but delayed the announcement after news of the successful hostage rescue operation.

“We did it because we knew it was a bad government. The people of Israel, the fighters, the commanders, the families of the murdered, the casualties and the hostages needed unity and support like they needed air to breathe,” added Gantz, who has previously served as chief of staff for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

He argued that Netanyahu is putting his personal political considerations ahead of post-war planning for Gaza, saying that “fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitation and procrastination due to [narrow] political considerations,” also adding that the prime minister prioritized appeasing far-right officials over resolving the conflict.

“Unfortunately, Netanyahu prevents us from progressing to real victory,” Gantz said, explaining, “we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart but wholeheartedly.”

Gadi Eisenkot

National Unity MK Gadi Eisenkot, who at one time also held the position of IDF chief, announced his resignation shortly after Gantz, criticizing Netanyahu and his handling of the war on Gaza since October.

“Despite the efforts of many, alongside those of my colleague, the cabinet you headed was prevented for a long while from making determining decisions, which were needed to realize the war’s goals and improve Israel’s strategic position,” he said.

“Outside considerations and politics infiltrated into the discussions,” Eisenkot remarked. “Therefore, it’s time we left the government.”

Eisenkot is one of the Israeli officials pushing back against Netanyahu’s war strategy and public statements, warning that the primary objective of defeating Hamas is unrealistic.

In January, he called for new elections, citing the failure of the current government to prevent last October’s Hamas attack.

“We need to go to the polls and have an election in the next few months, in order to renew the trust as currently there is no trust,” he said. “The state of Israel is a democracy and needs to ask itself, after such a serious event, how do we go forward with a leadership that is responsible for such an absolute failure?”

Avi Rosenfeld

Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, the head of the Israel Defense Force’s Gaza Division, announced his resignation over the weekend, bemoaning what he described as his own culpability in failing to stop the Oct. 7 attack.

“On October 7, I failed in my life’s mission to protect the [Gaza border communities],” Rosenfeld, who had been expected to resign since April, said in a statement quoted by the Times of Israel.

“I have decided to end my position as commander of the 143rd Division (the Gaza Division) and my service in the IDF, as part of my responsibility as a commander,” Rosenfeld said in his letter to the head of the Southern Command and the IDF chief of staff.

“As I promised, I will stay until my replacement takes over the role, and I will transfer command over the division in an orderly and responsible manner,” Rosenfeld continued. “I intend to continue to take part in the investigations and the learning of lessons, to do everything so that what happened on October 7 does not happen in the future.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, have also accepted personal responsibility for the attack, though Netanyahu has yet to do the same.

Chili Tropper

National Unity Party member Chili Tropper, who has been a critic of the war in Gaza, also announced his resignation this weekend.

Tropper cited discord within the Cabinet and Netanyahu’s poor handling of the Gaza crisis as reasons for his departure.

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