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Israeli minister quits Netanyahu's unity government, saying he was sidelined

FILE PHOTO: Gideon Saar speaks to supporters in Rishon Lezion, Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A veteran Israeli minister who joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency unity government after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack said on Monday he had resigned after not being included in the highest-level war cabinet.

Gideon Saar joined the unity government along with several other members of the opposition to help manage the war on Hamas in Gaza.

Saar's departure, along with another of his allies, is not expected to affect the stability of Netanyahu's government, which still controls a clear majority in parliament.

Saar was once a rival to Netanyahu in the right-wing Likud party before joining a more centrist bloc led by former military chief Benny Gantz. Together they entered the emergency government. Gantz became a member of the small-forum, decision-making war cabinet while Saar was left out.

"I can't carry the responsibility if I do not have, in my judgment, a real possibility to influence the direction of policy. I simply do not see any benefit in this," Saar said in broadcast remarks.

His resignation did not come as a surprise, as Saar had broken up the alliance with Gantz earlier this month.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by James Mackenzie and Christina Fincher)