Photo Credit: Religious Zionism
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, adjunct Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and the coordinator of government operations in the territories, Major General Rasan Elian, met on January 12, 2023.

Coalition crisis number one; the cause: the High Court of Justice. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to sack Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri on Sunday during his cabinet meeting, in keeping with the order of the High Court ruling. The sacking will be carried out in coordination with Deri who did not agree to resign. His dismissal from two government ministries, Interior and Health, will take effect on Tuesday morning, 26 days into the life of Netanyahu’s sixth government. At this point, it is not yet clear how Shas will respond in terms of its coalition membership.

Coalition crisis number two; the cause: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is expected to boycott Sunday’s cabinet meeting along with all the ministers of his Religious Zionist party. The reason is the chain of events last Friday in which the new outpost Or Haim in Samaria was dismantled and evacuated by the Civil Administration, which, according to the coalition agreement, should be reporting to Smotrich. Minister Gallant and the Civil Administration ignored written communication from Smotrich asking them to halt the evacuation until after Sunday’s cabinet meeting. At this point, it is not yet clear how Religious Zionism will respond in terms of its coalition membership.


Israeli media report that Gallant and the Civil Administration have been dragging their feet about handing over the reins to Smotrich, who is an adjunct minister in the defense ministry in charge of Judea and Samaria. Also: remember the other coalition agreement, between Otzma Yehudit and Likud, whereby National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir would be in charge of the Border Guard units in Judea and Samaria? Well, lo and behold, Border Guard units participated in the swift evacuation of Or Haim.

Ben Gvir plans to attend Sunday’s cabinet meeting to demand that the Illegal PA Arab settlement of Khan al-Ahmar will be given the same swift treatment as Or Haim. Good luck.

Incidentally, here’s a fun tweet posted by MK Yoav Galant on March 21, 2022, condemning the Lapid-Bennett government which was weak against Iran but strong against settlement children and families. The image he posted might as well have been shot last Friday:

MK Yoav Gallant’s tweet against outpost removal. / Screenshot

So, Netanyahu has two fires to put out, and that does not include his huge brewing problem with his justice minister’s attempt to reform Israel’s incestuous judiciary.

But wait, there’s more: Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, who was appointed by former justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar (the former Likudnik who is possibly Netanyahu’s biggest hater in Israel’s politics, save for former Likudnik Avigdor Liberman) is reportedly considering starting a legal process to bring about a declaration of Prime Minister Netanyahu as incapacitated for promoting the legal reforms which Baharav-Miara says bears a conflict of interests, since Netanyahu is a defendant in three criminal indictments and stands to benefit from Levin’s reform. It’s Israel’s equivalent of the US 25th Amendment, but with wide-open criteria as to what renders a serving PM unable to govern.

In case you were wondering about the potential for a coup d’état in Israel – this is a coup d’état.


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