Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, dismissed Defense Minister Yoav Gallant from his post on Sunday evening. The day before, Gallant had proposed suspending discussions on the judicial reform desired by Netanyahu, which has been at the center of extensive and participatory protests throughout the country for weeks, involving tens of thousands of people.
Netanyahu did not give explanations as to why he decided to remove Gallant from office: second Galit Distal Atbaryan, the information minister, the prime minister allegedly told him that “he no longer trusts him and is therefore fired”.
Gallant had been the first exponent of Netanyahu’s government (but not the only one) to explicitly contest the reform: the fact that he was removed from office suggests that Netanyahu does not seem to have any intention of backtracking on his plans.
Gallant had said on Saturday that it would have been appropriate to stop the legislative process because in his opinion the large protests of recent times are involving a risk for national security: among other things, the demonstrations are involving a growing number of soldiers and above all of reservists, which are an important part of the Israeli military and are normally mostly pro-government and far from political disputes.
The reform proposed by Netanyahu envisages removing powers from the Supreme Court to entrust them to the government: the reform is contested because in Israel, where there is no real constitution, the Supreme Court has an exceptionally important role and is one of the few counterweights to power of the government in office at the moment: those who contest the reform therefore believe that taking away her powers is a danger to Israeli democracy. Netanyahu argues instead that it serves to create a greater balance between elected legislators and unelected judges: “we don’t want a controlled Court, but a balanced Court”, he said a few days ago.
A first part of the reform was approved just this week, with a law that reduces the chances of declaring the prime minister unsuitable for his role. With the new law, in fact, the attorney general will no longer be able to remove Netanyahu from his office, a possibility that had been discussed in recent days: Netanyahu is in fact accused of corruption in some trials, and the attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara he had mentioned the possibility that he would be declared unsuitable for his position due to the obvious conflict of interest of his position.