• Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

On Friday, media reports said that it was likely that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant would be able to keep his job, but he would have to issue a public apology to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Sunday, the premier had announced that he was firing the defense minister for publicly calling for the halt of the judicial overhaul process.

The issue

Last Saturday evening, Gallant had delivered a prime-time speech in which he had warned that the security agencies and IDF had been impacted by the national divide associated with the overhaul.

The defense minister had stated that the operational capacity of these agencies was impacted and this would put national security at risk and the statement left the prime minister fuming.

Netanyahu had issues with the content of the defense minister’s message because of his desire to move forward with the legislation aimed at curbing the power of the High Court of Justice.

However, he was particularly angry at the timing of the said speech, given that it had been delivered while the premier was visiting London.

Gallant’s stance

According to media reports, Gallant is willing to apologize in writing, but only for his speech’s timing because he believes that the warning he had issued was genuine.

But, reports indicated that an apology would not be enough for Netanyahu and the defense minister would also have to confirm his loyalty to the premier.

Gallant believes that he had had to make the speech because he did not have any other choice, as Netanyahu had not paid any heed to his warnings of the damage the overhaul was inflicting on the military.

He had initially planned on giving the speech that he did give on Saturday night on last Thursday, but the prime minister had convinced him to hold off.

Netanyahu had assured the defense minister that he would pause the judicial overhaul legislation temporarily.

The events

Gallant had agreed, but no announcement had come, so the defense minister moved ahead with his original plan two days later.

Less than 24 hours after the defense minister’s public speech, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Gallant was being fired.

The announcement resulted in mass protests in Tel Aviv and elsewhere on Sunday night and they had continued into the early hours of Monday morning.

On Monday morning, a strike had also been announced by the biggest labor union in Israel and this included suspension of flights from Ben Gurion Airport.

It eventually prompted the prime minister to announce a pause and he said that they would try to reach a compromise with the opposition.

The primary legislation in the judicial overhaul reforms, which would give the coalition full authority to choose judges, was scheduled to be approved this week in the Knesset.

The announcement from Netanyahu said that the legislation would be suspended, along with others, until next month when the Knesset returns after the Passover break.

While he did follow Gallant’s lead, the premier has not yet forgiven the defense minister for what he considers his betrayal.

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