Yoav Gallant
Yoav GallantElad Malcah

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited newly inducted soldiers at the Armored and Combat Engineering Corps today (Monday) and commented on the progress of the negotiations to secure the release of the hostages in Gaza.

"We have the highest obligation to bring our hostages back home," Gallant said. "The operational conditions that the IDF created through relentless military pressure on Hamas allow us flexibility, freedom of action and also making difficult decisions to return the hostages."

The Defense Minister added that he believes "we are at an opportune moment, but there’s another side that must agree to it.”

Gallant declared, “Afterwards will return to the fighting, and do everything we must.”

Earlier, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he called on him to convene the Security Cabinet immediately following reports of the war's intensity being turned down.

"Due to the current situation of the withdrawal of maneuvering forces from Gaza and the lowering of war's intensity in general, while delaying the advance into Rafah for weeks, together with reports of Israel's willingness to discuss the return of Gazan civilians to the northern Gaza Strip and to in fact end the war, and in addition to reports about the negotiation teams the full mandate, I demand that you convene the cabinet this evening for a special discussion in which we will receive a full update and all of the information on the condition of the war," Smotrich wrote to Netanyahu.

He noted that "the only forum that is authorized to make decisive decisions during the war is the expanded cabinet, but unfortunately, things aren't working that way and we see that decisions are being made in the War Cabinet without approval or updating the expanded cabinet under international pressure which harms the war's momentum and our security interests.

"For weeks I've been warning that instead of taking the foot off the pedal, we need to intensify the pressure on Hamas in Gaza, and that is the only way we can bring back the hostages and destroy Hamas. Therefore I repeat my demands to convene the expanded cabinet by this evening for an urgent discussion on the matter," Smotrich concluded.