Israel's Netanyahu fires defence minister who urged halt to judicial reforms

Yoav Galant asked the government to stop the legislative process for a month in view of huge protests across the country


  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Yoav Galant. — Reuters file
Yoav Galant. — Reuters file

Published: Sun 26 Mar 2023, 11:39 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday fired Defence Minister Yoav Galant, a day after he broke ranks to call for a pause in the government's controversial judicial reforms.

On a day when 200,000 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the reforms, Galant — who had been a staunch Netanyahu ally — on Saturday said "we must stop the legislative process" for a month in view of its divisiveness.

The plans to hand more control to politicians and diminish the role of the Supreme Court have been questioned by Israel's top allies including the United States, while regularly igniting protests in Israel.

"The growing social rift has made its way into the (army) and security agencies. It is a clear, immediate and tangible threat to Israel's security," said Galant, who is a member of Netanyahu's own right-wing Likud party.

"I am committed to Likud values... and placing the State of Israel above all... but major changes on the national level must be made through deliberations and dialogue," he said.

Netanyahu on Sunday decided to "dismiss Defence Minister Yoav Gallant", the prime minister's office said in a brief statement.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid had hailed Galant's comments as a "brave and vital step for Israel's security".


Galant called for the halt before lawmakers are due to vote this coming week on a central part of the government's proposals, which would change the way judges are appointed.

Two other Likud lawmakers tweeted their support for Galant, raising questions over whether the government could count on a majority if it pushes ahead with a vote.

Galant is the first casualty but other high-level officials have also expressed reservations.

Earlier this month, President Isaac Herzog, who holds a largely ceremonial role, voiced concern over the deepening rift in society and presented a proposed compromise, which the government rejected.

"Anyone who thinks that a genuine civil war, with human lives, is a line that we could never reach, has no idea what they are talking about," Herzog cautioned.

Israel's attorney general on Friday accused Netanyahu of "illegal" public intervention on the reform programme, after he made a nationwide TV address the previous evening.

Netanyahu is on trial over charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, which he denies.

More news from World