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Netanyahu Removes Defense Minister Following Speech Criticizing Judicial Reform

Israelis block traffic during a protest against the government's planned judicial reforms during a 'Day of Disruption' in Jerusalem, on Thursday. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
Israelis block traffic during a protest against the government’s planned judicial reforms during a ‘Day of Disruption’ in Jerusalem, on Thursday. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Sunday, one day after Gallant’s call to pause Netanyahu’s judicial reform law.

The office of the prime minister confirmed the dismissal in a press release on Sunday. The move comes on the heels of weeks of protests over the government’s reform plan that would hand the power to make judicial appointments over to the ruling government. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has a vote on a portion of the reform bill planned for Wednesday.

Gallant voiced his opposition to reform in a speech on Saturday night, saying that it threatens the security of Israel, according to CNN.

“Any manifestation of refusal that eats away at the strength of the IDF and harms the security system should be stopped immediately,” Gallant reportedly said.

Protests continued, even heightened after news of Gallant’s removal broke, Haaretz reports. Thousands in Tel Aviv took to the streets, blocking the Ayalon Highway and starting bonfires. Planned protests also took place outside the home of the prime minister in Jerusalem, where demonstrators butted heads with law enforcement.

Gallant is but one of several government figures to express reservations over the reform plan, which would weaken the power of Israel’s judicial system up to its Supreme Court. Opposition Party Leader Yair Lapid has said parliament should pause its schedule to discuss the changes more thoroughly. President Isaac Herzog has called the bill “oppressive.”

Related Story: State Dept. Sending Taxpayer Funds to Nonprofit Supporting Anti-Netanyahu Protests

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