Burden of the Crown

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his war cabinet Monday following the resignation of its two centrist members, leaving the embattled leader even more vulnerable to the increasing internal and international pressure to stop the war, the Washington Post reported.

The war cabinet was originally established soon after the attack on Oct. 7 in southern Israel by Hamas and its allies that killed around 1,200 people and saw the kidnapping of more than 240 others.

The special cabinet also included moderates Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, both army generals, whose presence was seen to counterbalance the influence of Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners. But the two politicians resigned last week, saying they could not cooperate with the prime minister as long as he refused to commit to a day-after strategy for the Palestinian enclave.

Officials said Netanyahu will now discuss sensitive matters in “smaller forums” with key ministers and military representatives.

But the departure of Gantz and Eisenkot leaves the leader under more pressure from his far-right allies.

Over the nine months of conflict in Gaza, coalition members such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich have pressured Netanyahu to reject ceasefire plans with Hamas that could secure the release of 120 remaining hostages. They have also advocated for total victory against Hamas and the reoccupation of Gaza, despite opposition from Israeli defense leaders.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is also facing criticism over the Israeli military’s announcement of daily 11-hour pauses in the fighting in Gaza to allow the delivery of aid, the BBC wrote. Ben-Gvir and Smotrich fiercely criticized the decision, with the former labeling the move as made by someone “stupid and ignorant.”

The Israeli military emphasized that these pauses did not signify an end to operations, particularly in the Gazan city of Rafah, a focal point of the fighting at the moment.

At the same time, Netanyahu’s coalition is facing internal divisions, particularly over issues such as the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews, Reuters noted.

Exacerbating tensions are also near-daily cross-border attacks in northern Israel from the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed group Hezbollah. Since the Gaza war began, tens of thousands of civilians on both sides of the border have been evacuated.

Despite achieving significant military objectives against Hamas, Israeli military officials have called for a strategic shift to focus on Hezbollah and to address the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, where according to Gaza’s Health Ministry more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed.

Meanwhile, the conflict is drawing widespread protests in Israel, with calls for Netanyahu to secure the hostages’ release and end the fighting.

Amid these challenges, Israel’s defense exports reached a record $13.07 billion last year, reflecting the ongoing strength of its defense industry even during wartime.

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