Last Updated: October 12, 2023, 06:33 IST
Announcing the “national emergency government” with Benny Gantz’s National Unity party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said the people of Israel are united, along with the leadership of the country. Netanyahu, Gantz and defence minister Yoav Gallant, also formed a “war cabinet” as Israeli troops continued to build in the south of the country.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid has not joined his former ally Gantz, but the statement said a seat would be “reserved” for him in the war cabinet. In a late-night televised address on the war’s fifth day, Netanyahu said, “We put all other considerations aside, because the fate of the nation is at stake. We will work together, side by side, for the citizens of Israel and the state of Israel.”
“We saw the beasts. We saw the barbarians we are facing. We saw a cruel enemy. An enemy worse than ISIS. We saw boys and girls, bound, shot in the head. Men and women burned alive. Young women raped and slaughtered,” he was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a joint statement with Defense Minister Yoav Galant and National Unity Chairman MK Benny Gantz:“Citizens of Israel, this evening we have formed a national emergency government. The people are united and today its leadership is also united. pic.twitter.com/0ffZ8CxTEI
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 11, 2023
On a somber note, Netanyahu said every family in Israel knows somebody who was killed. “We all know families whose loved ones were murdered. But he also cites the acts of heroism of those who fought the Hamas terrorists. “And we will all fight for the home,” he said.
As Israeli planes pounded Gaza, he said Israel’s unity is resonating worldwide and was exemplified by US President Joe Biden’s support. “We are fighting with full force, on every front, we have gone onto the attack. Every member of Hamas is a dead man,” he added.
The formation of a “national emergency government” comes as the war, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives on both sides, is expected to escalate. On Wednesday, Biden called the Hamas attack “the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” and a campaign of “pure cruelty.”
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip residents face uncertainty after the territory’s only power plant ran out of fuel and shut down Wednesday. Israel imposed what it called a “complete siege” on Gaza on Monday.
(With agency inputs)