Israel forms emergency unity government in response to Hamas attacks

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, an opposition party leader, announced they have reached an agreement to form an emergency unity government in the wake of attacks launched by the militant group Hamas.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday that both sides came to an agreement after meeting at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) headquarters in Tel Aviv. 

The agreement allows Gantz, a former military general, and his fellow party members to be officially sworn in as ministers for the duration of the war. Gantz will join a security cabinet that includes Netanyahu, Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and opposition party member Gadi Eisenkot. 

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer will serve as an observer in the war cabinet, while a spot will be open for opposition leader Yair Lapid to join the cabinet, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The agreement also states no law should be passed in the country’s legislature throughout the duration of the war. 

The formation of the emergency government comes after Hamas, a militant group that is the de facto authority in Gaza, launched its deadly attack against Israel on Saturday, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 Israelis.

Israeli officials have said that more than 150 soldiers and civilians are being held hostage. 

Israeli armed forces have launched a counteroffensive against the group, with Netanyahu saying that his country’s forces will exact a “huge price” against Hamas for the attack. 

President Biden publicly condemned the terrorist attacks, confirming Americans are among the many people being held hostage by the militant group, and that 20 Americans remain unaccounted for in the country. 

“In this moment we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel,” Biden said in a televised address Tuesday, noting that the number of Americans killed in the attacks has risen to 14. 

“And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack. There’s no justification for terrorism. There’s no excuse.”

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