Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. On Saturday, Gallant called for the suspension of the judicial reform legislation currently making its way through the Israeli Parliament. The legislation, introduced by Netanyahu, would give the government more control over selection of judges in the Israeli Supreme Court, limiting judicial influence.
Israeli Minister of Information Galit Distal Atbaryan announced that Netanyahu summoned Gallant to his office and told Gallant that he doesn’t have faith in him anymore. Netanyahu then fired Gallant.
Gallant issued a statement via social media on Sunday, which read in part, “[The] web of relations between the judiciary, and the government and the Knesset requires balance.” While he acknowledged that Israel “need[s] a change in the justice system,” he stated that they first “must stop the legislative process and reach out for negotiation.” Gallant also spoke out in opposition to the legislation in a a short national TV address Saturday, during which he stressed his security concerns regarding the legislation and subsequent protests.
Gallant called for a delay to the law to allow for further discussions to occur between the government and the opposition. Prior to being fired, Gallant received support in his opposition from two coalition leaders, Yuli Edelstein and David Bitan.
Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reform was introduced earlier this year on January 4, resulting in nationwide opposition with protests against the legislation breaking out across the country. Despite this, Netanyahu has continued to support his reforms, and was set to meet coalition leaders Sunday regarding the proposed laws. A parliamentary committee finalized the legislation’s drafting this weekend and is due to appear in the parliamentary chamber next week.
The people of Israel continued to protest against the legislation, with an estimated 270,000 Israelis demonstrating Saturday.