Netanyahu sacks defense minister who called for halt to judicial overhaul

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Photo: Gil Cohen-MagenAFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister on Sunday, a day after Yoav Gallant called for suspending the government's judicial overhaul plan and warned opposition, including within the military, to the legislation was undermining Israel's national security.

Why it matters: The sacking is likely to further enrage anti-government protesters and escalate the instability the country has faced since Netanyahu's right-wing government unveiled the judicial overhaul plan earlier this year.

  • No Israeli defense has ever been fired three months after a government was formed or after warning that Israel was facing a grave national security threat.

Driving the news: Gallant in a televised speech on Saturday called for the immediate suspension of Netanyahu's judicial overhaul legislation, saying it had "created an internal rift that poses a clear and immediate threat for Israel's national security."

  • Gallant, a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, was the most senior minister to publicly call for the suspension of the legislation. A vote on the first part of the judicial overhaul plan is expected on Wednesday.
  • He had warned Netanyahu that moving forward with the judicial overhaul could lead to more protests among IDF reservists and even inside the regular army. Netanyahu has received similar warnings from the chiefs of the IDF and the Shin Bet domestic security agency.

Behind the scenes: Netanyahu summoned Gallant for a meeting on Sunday evening and told him that he worked behind his back and against the government and the coalition with his speech on Saturday, a senior Netanyahu aide said in a briefing with reporters.

  • "The Prime Minister told Gallant that he lost confidence in him. Gallant didn't coordinate his speech with the Prime Minister and sabotaged the efforts to reach a solution," Netanyahu's aide said.

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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