Netanyahu’s Decision to Delay Firing of Defense Minister


After a week of tension over the firing of defence chief Yoav Gallant, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a hold on the dismissal. Netanyahu announced on March 26 he would be removing Gallant following the latter’s public call to pause proposed reforms of the justice system. These contentious plans, which included increasing government control over judicial appointments and giving parliament more power to repeal Supreme Court rulings, sparked nationwide protests.

Netanyahu decided to delay the replacement of Gallant in the midst of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover, citing the security situation. A source close to Netanyahu’s office remarked that “the issue of the firing of the defence minister will be determined at a later date.” Some political sources said there may be efforts to resolve the rift between Gallant and Netanyahu, and the two even appeared together at a military base on Monday evening.

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Yoav Gallant, 61, is an Israeli politician and former navy admiral. He joined the Likud party, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in October 2019. Before his involvement in politics, Gallant served as a navy commander from 2000 to 2005, where he undertook numerous operations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Formerly Israel’s Minister for Housing and Construction, Gallant made the suggestion to freeze the controversial judicial reforms and was dismissed for his comment. Facing pressure to maintain the state’s security during a time of unrest, the Israeli Prime Minister temporarily chose to put a hold on the dismissal.