Fired: Netanyahu Removes Defense Minister over Opposition to Judicial Reform

Yoav Gallant (Maya Alleruzzo / Associated Press)
Maya Alleruzzo / Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant on Sunday after the latter gave an unauthorized speech calling on the government to halt its ongoing reforms of the country’s judiciary.

Gallant gave his speech while Netanyahu was out of the country on an official visit to the United Kingdom. He made his move after hundreds of military reservists refused to perform their service in protest at the reforms.

While the opposition and the left-leaning media celebrated Gallant’s break with protocol, there was pressure inside Netanyahu’s ruling coalition to fire Gallant, both for disloyalty and for rewarding military desertion.

On Sunday, after returning from the UK, Netanyahu fired Gallant.

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets, and plans for what opponents had called a “week of paralysis” seemed certain to expand, with strikes and protests.

Israel protests (Oren Ziv / Associated Press)

Israelis opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan set up bonfires and block a highway during a protest moments after the Israeli leader fired his defense minister, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, March 26, 2023. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had called on Netanyahu to freeze the plan, citing deep divisions in the country and turmoil in the military. (AP Photo/Oren Ziv)

Israel now stands on the verge of what some are calling a “civil war” — a term that the Israeli left has used often since Netanyahu’s coalition of right-wing parties won a majority in last year’s election and began to govern.

As Breitbart News has noted, the judicial reforms aim to rein in Israel’s runaway courts by adding checks and balances. Many of the proposed reforms mirror existing constitutional practices in the U.S. and elsewhere.

But the judiciary has long been a bastion of Israel’s secular, European elite, which has resisted the growing political power of Israel’s religious community, as well as that of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa.

While claiming to defend “democracy,” Israel’s opposition has used undemocratic means to bring the country to a halt — even its military — while opposing reforms that would increase judicial accountability to the legislature.

Gallant’s speech was a dangerous gamble — one that practically dared Netanyahu to fire him, or face the fall of his own government. Meanwhile, threats from a potentially nuclear Iran, and from Palestinian terror, loom.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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