Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a news conference without his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, casting shadows of an apparent dispute between the two men, Anadolu reports.
Asked about the situation, Netanyahu said: “I suggested to the defense minister tonight to hold a joint press conference, and he decided what he decided,” in reference to Gallant’s absence.
In recent days, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said there were differences between Netanyahu and top officials in the army about assessments and plans concerning the Israeli onslaught against Gaza.
Netanyahu, however, tried to downplay the issue by saying, “It’s important that the public hear us.”
He added that Israeli leadership is “working together” on the war against Gaza.
Netanyahu claimed at the news conference that the army hit 400 Hamas targets in the past 24 hours across the Gaza Strip and the war “ahead of us is long and difficult.”
According to Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv, the rift between Netanyahu and Gallant has deepened due to the ongoing war.
According to the Tel Aviv-based daily, the prime minister has sought to prevent other members of Israel’s Security Cabinet, including Gallant and Benny Gantz from receiving credit for the return of 110 Israeli hostages as part of a deal with Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
Gantz, a former defense minister and one of Netanyahu’s main political rivals, was made a Security Cabinet minister after the Oct. 7 attacks.
“The preceding weeks were arduous and laden with intricate questions. Netanyahu leaned on a consistent support team, which surfaced every night, Defense Minister Gallant and Minister Gantz,” said the Maariv report.
It claimed that the “enduring overall perception” was that Gallant and Gantz not only supported Netanyahu but also to “impart weight and legitimacy” to him as the Cabinet’s chief spokesman.
The latest news conference indicated a change in this narrative, though, according to the daily’s analysis. “The prime minister did not merely emerge to convey messages and address challenging inquiries; he brought positive news — a notable achievement, the first since the resounding failure on Oct. 7,” it said, alleging that invitations were not extended to Gallant or Gantz to avoid sharing the credit with them.
However, the report noted that Netanyahu’s office claimed Gallant had been invited, adding that the difference between the two accounts “highlights the existing gap between Netanyahu and Gallant. A gap that has been widening for a long time, predating Oct. 7, and continues to grow.”