Israel’s Deep State Fights Back, Forces Delay in Firing of Defense Minister

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant last Sunday — or so it seemed — after the latter gave an unauthorized speech opposing judicial reform while Netanyahu was abroad.

Gallant was fired because he was perceived to have buckled to pressure from left-wing military reservists, especially elite pilots, who refused to show up for duty while the government pursued its judicial reforms.

But Israel’s defense establishment has fought back. Several former defense ministers — including opposition figure Benny Gantz — and others within the military have opposed Gallant’s firing, which is not yet official.

According to the Times of Israel, the prime minister’s office is delaying Gallant’s official firing because it might compromise national security. There are talks under way to arrange for Gallant to apologize and keep his job.

Gallant has reportedly agreed to apologize for the timing of his speech, but not its substance, as Netanyahu paused the judicial reforms anyway. He has also refused to state that he remains loyal to the elected leader.

The crisis suggests that Israel’s defense establishment — the Israeli version of what American conservatives call the “Deep State” — is challenging the democratically-elected leaders of the country, in the name of “democracy.”

The judicial reforms themselves are democratic, giving more power to the elected legislature to do things that are taken for granted in other countries, such as controlling appointments to the bench, as in the United States.

But Israel’s Deep State appears to have no more enthusiasm than America’s Deep State in allowing democracy to function when there is a conservative government in power that seeks to level the political playing field.

Gallant is living up to his Biblical namesake: King David wanted to fire Yoav, or Joab, as his general for insubordination after the latter jeopardized peace talks by killing his rival, Avner.

King David wanted to punish Yoav, but could not do so, because the fragile security of his reign depended on the general. The most David could do was force Yoav to mourn (2 Samuel 3:31); punishment would await until Solomon had ascended to the throne.

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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