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Israeli PM Netanyahu fires defence minister Gallant: Statement | Politics News

Minister Yoav Gallant on Saturday spoke out against the prime minister’s plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed Defence Minister Yoav Gallant a day after Gallant spoke out against the country’s planned judicial reforms, Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday.

Netanyahu’s office did not provide further details.

Gallant, a senior member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, became the first to break ranks late on Saturday by calling for the legislation to overhaul Israel’s judicial system to be frozen.

Netanyahu’s government is pushing ahead for a parliamentary vote this week on a centrepiece of the overhaul – a law that would give the extreme-right governing coalition the final say over all judicial appointments.

The decision came less than a day after Gallant called for a pause in the controversial legislation until after next month’s Independence Day holidays, citing the turmoil in the ranks of the military over the plan.

While several other Likud members had indicated they might follow him, the party quickly closed ranks on Sunday, clearing the way for Gallant’s dismissal.

Galit Distal Atbaryan, Netanyahu’s public diplomacy minister, said that Netanyahu summoned Gallant to his office and told him “that he doesn’t have any faith in him anymore and therefore he is fired”.

Gallant tweeted shortly after the announcement that “the security of the state of Israel always was and will always remain my life mission”.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said that Gallant’s dismissal was a “new low for the anti-Zionist government that harms national security and ignores warnings of all defense officials”.

“The prime minister of Israel is a threat to the security of the state of Israel,” Lapid wrote on Twitter.

Protest organisers called for a spontaneous demonstration outside military headquarters in Tel Aviv in response to Netanyahu’s dismissal of his defense minister.

Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim reporting from Jerusalem said that it is unclear if Gallant will be given another post within the cabinet.

“But already even before his firing, the national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir had been urging that Gallant be fired, saying he was not in line with cabinet and therefore needed to be removed,” Ghoneim said.

“Many prominent members of the Likud party appear to be in line with Netanyahu and are supporting his move this evening, but members of the opposition are opposing it.”

The planned judicial reforms have triggered weeks of massive protests, with tens of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets joined by military and business leaders, who have spoken out against the proposal.

The news comes as an Israeli good governance group on Sunday asked the country’s Supreme Court to punish Netanyahu for allegedly violating a conflict of interest agreement meant to prevent him from dealing with the country’s judiciary while he is on trial for corruption.

The request by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel intensifies a brewing showdown between Netanyahu’s government and the judiciary that it is trying to overhaul.

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