After criticism of reform – Israel: Netanyahu fires defense minister


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fired Defense Minister Yoav Galant against the backdrop of controversial judicial reform in Israel. Netanyahu’s office said in a brief statement Sunday night that he had decided to “relieve Galant of his duties.” Given the massive protests against the planned judicial reform, Galant on Saturday called for a one-month suspension of the legislative process. There have been protests for months against the reform, which is intended to limit the influence of the Supreme Court. The plans of the right-wing religious government have also led to international criticism.

Surprisingly, the previous defense minister called on his own government on Saturday evening to enter into dialogue with critics. Galant warned that national security could be seriously compromised. The background is that many reservists did not show up in protest against the reform. Netanyahu responded by firing him. Nevertheless, his coalition wants to implement key elements of the reform in the coming days.

Rebellion in Netanyahu’s party?
Galant was the oldest member of the government to criticize the project. The newspaper “Jediot Achronot” with a large circulation on Sunday ran the headline: “Rebellion within the Likud”. The government accuses the Supreme Court of excessive interference in political decisions. It should therefore be possible in the future for Parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions by a simple majority. Critics see the separation of powers as a cornerstone of democracy in danger and warn of a state crisis.

Galant’s call received mixed responses. He also received support from the Likud party. Other coalition members, however, called for his resignation. Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir wrote on Twitter that Galant collapsed under pressure from the media and protesters. Opposition leader Yair Lapid called his call a “bold step” important for Israel’s security. He called on the government to stop the legislation.

Mass protests continue
After Galant’s speech, the organizers of the mass protests against the reform announced that the demonstrations would continue until the reform plans were completely abandoned. They have announced a “week of disruption” with numerous protests. According to media reports, about 200,000 protesters gathered in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening. Tens of thousands took part in rallies in other cities as well.

Experts assume that the months-long mass protests are not just about judicial reform, but that the liberal camp is also venting its anger over other deep-seated issues. “We no longer want to be the fools,” Lapid wrote. “We don’t live in this country just to pay taxes and send our children into the army. Amidst the gloom of recent months, something miraculous has also happened: the liberal camp has woken up.”

Galant said in his speech that he had heard disturbing statements from army commanders in recent weeks. He spoke of “anger, pain and disappointment with an intensity I’ve never experienced before”. Galant warned: “The threats around us are great.” He referred to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear program. In a televised report, reserve fighter pilots threatened not to participate in a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if the reform went ahead. “I will not be a mercenary of a dictatorial regime,” said one pilot.

Source: Krone


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