Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem / POOL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a cabinet meeting, March 12, 2023.

Israel’s Channel 14 News and multiple other Israeli news outlets reported Sunday evening that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The defense minister was summoned to the Prime Minister’s Office Sunday evening, where Netanyahu reportedly told him, “I have lost my faith in you.”


Following his dismissal, Gallant wrote in a tweet: “The security of the State of Israel has always been and will always remain the mission of my life.”

The prime minister now has 48 hours in which to replace Gallant, according to Ma’ariv.

At present it appears that Netanyahu is likely to replace Gallant Agriculture Minister and former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter, who this weekend changed his stance on the issue, and expressed his support for the judicial reforms.

“I am coordinating on the issue with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin,” Dichter said in a statement earlier in the day.

The dismissal is an indication of Netanyahu’s determination to pass the reforms, and a message to other potential rebels that they have no future in the Likud if they break ranks with the party line.

Gallant had failed to nip in the bud the rebellion by left-wing IDF reserve pilots, which led to the refusals going viral.

The now-former defense minister appeared on national television Saturday to call for a halt to the government’s long-planned judicial reforms while Netanyahu was on a plane returning to Israel after an official visit to Britain.

He also called for cancellation of the Deri Law, scheduled for a vote this week.

Gallant Calls for Temporary Halt to Judicial Reform; Coalition May Have Lost Majority to Pass It

“We need a change in the judicial system. The balance between the branches [of government] needs to be re-balanced, which will strengthen public faith,” Gallant said in remarks broadcast by Israeli media.

He added, however, that “for the sake of Israel’s security,” the legislative process must be halted, at least temporarily, and urged the government to negotiate with opposition lawmakers who have led more than 12 weeks of protests that have repeatedly disrupted the lives of Israelis.

Gallant said he was “calling for a halt to the judicial reform legislation until after Yom Ha’Atzma’ut.”

In response to Gallant’s dismissal, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said in a statement Sunday night, “The people want reform now! He who submits to [reservists’] refusals cannot remain in office even for a moment.

“Gallant succumbed to the pressure; in addition, he led a policy of containment and surrender in the face of terrorism. The prime minister decided on the necessary step and I congratulate him for doing so,” he added.

Gallant had held several conversations with former IDF chief of staff and defense minister Benny Gantz, a member of the opposition leadership behind the current massive protests. On Sunday morning, Gantz sent a letter to coalition members — strikingly, not to Netanyahu, who leads the coalition — urging Gallant’s fellow ministers to put the brakes on the judicial reform.

Opposition MK Benny Gantz Pleads for Government to Halt Judicial Reform, Cites ‘Nation Torn Apart’ Without Mentioning His Own Role

In breaking with the Likud party and with his fellow coalition ministers, Gallant joined forces with former Knesset Speaker and Likud member Yuli Edelstein, who has already skipped important votes on the issue in the Knesset, rather than support the judicial reform.

Both Gallant and Edelstein have been positioning themselves to challenge Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud party.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.