Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today fired his Defence Minister Yoav Gallant after the latter criticised the planned judicial reforms, Netanyahu’s office announced.
Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter is expected, Israeli media said, to replace Gallant, who is still a Knesset member.
Netanyahu said that he lost trust in Gallant after he “went behind the government’s back,” referring to his call to freeze the planned judicial overhaul.
The Times of Israel reported sources close to Netanyahu saying that he had decided to fire Gallant over the “feeble and weak response against the refusals in the IDF. [army]”
In a tweet, Netanyahu said: “We must all stand up strongly against refusals.”
Hebrew newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu now has 48 hours to appoint a new defence minister.
Firing Gallant triggered countrywide protests with an estimated 600,000 Israelis taking to the streets and blocking highways.
Following his sacking, Gallant tweeted: “The security of the State of Israel has always been and will always remain my life’s mission.”
Netanyahu has faced weeks of mass protests after his religious-nationalist coalition pursued changes to the judiciary that would give the government sway in choosing judges and limit the Supreme Court’s power to strike down laws.
The move has caused alarm at home and abroad about the country’s democratic checks and balances.