Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist National Unity party, has quit the Israeli war cabinet.

Gantz, who is also a former chief-of-staff of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), said that he made the decision with a ‘heavy heart’ but that the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was ‘preventing us from approaching true victory, which is the justification for the painful ongoing crisis’.

Gantz and his National Unity party had been in opposition but joined the emergency war cabinet following the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel.

Gantz’s presence was widely seen as a balancing force to the far-right, which has a number of representatives in the war cabinet.

Gantz’s decision to leave the cabinet is unlikely to bring the government down, as the governing coalition still holds a slight majority in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. However, the Israeli government and Netanyahu are under severe pressure to bring the military operation in Gaza to a close.

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