Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Defense Minister Yoav GallantAriel Hermoni (IMoD)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has refused MK Yuli Edelstein’s (Likud) request to bring a contingent from the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to visit the Gaza Strip.

According to Israel Hayom, the request was confined to the Intelligence Subcommittee, a classified subcommittee that includes just five individuals - MKs Yuli Edelstein, Ze’ev Elkin, Ram Ben-Barak, Danny Danon, and Yinon Azoulai.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is officially responsible for supervising the government's policy in matters of security, as well as the Defense Ministry. The Intelligence Subcommittee is considered a classified and exclusive group whose members have access to sensitive material, like Cabinet ministers. Gideon Sa'ar, who was on the subcommittee before joining the Cabinet, is expected to return to the subcommittee soon and replace Ze'ev Elkin.

The committee protested Gallant's refusal: “Journalists are allowed into Gaza every two days, and we need to see what is happening on the front and challenge the system. There is a feeling that we are being kept from doing our job.”

Members of the committee also claim that while they are occasionally invited to review operations in the Kiriya base in Tel Aviv, Minister Gallant does not always answer their questions. Such a review is expected to take place today.

Gallant has refused not only this request, but a similar one by Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, who requested to visit Gaza as part of his accompanying an international personality who was visiting Israel.

Politicians entering Gaza, or any military base in Israel, require Gallant’s approval. The only ones allowed to enter Gaza thus far have been the reduced War Cabinet and Finance Minister Smotrich.

The Defense Minister's office did not comment.