Israeli opposition offers joint government amid conflict in Gaza

The opposition party in the Israeli parliament offered to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a limited joint government as the country responds to unprecedented attacks from Gaza on Saturday.

“I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I informed him that in the current state of emergency I am right to put aside all the differences, to establish together with him a professional, limited emergency government, which will manage the difficult, complex and protracted campaign before us,” opposition party leader Yair Lapid said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched the largest attack on Israel in decades early Saturday, invading multiple Israeli towns from Gaza and launching masses of missiles into the country.

At least 250 Israelis and 232 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, according to Israeli media reports and the Palestinian government. 

A joint government would allow the Israeli parliament to pass measures in response to the conflict more easily.

Lapid was the country’s prime minister in 2022 before a snap election placed Netanyahu back in power in December. Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party has bitterly fought Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party for years as the prime minister has been embroiled in corruption scandals.

Governments in Europe and the U.S. have pledged to support Israel amid rising violence, while nations in the Middle East have mostly condemned Israel for its role in the ongoing conflict with Palestine.

The attacks come on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah and is nearly 50 years to the day after the beginning of the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

In a public address early Saturday, Netanyahu called the conflict a “war.”

“We are at war,” he said. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ‘round,’ but at war.”

“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added, promising that Israel would “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.”

President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone Saturday, where he pledged American support for the country.

“The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel,” Biden said in a statement.

Updated 4:07 p.m.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Gaza Hamas Israel Israeli-Palestinian conflict knesset palestine Yair Lapid