Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet finalized the firing of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and could roll back the move given simmering opposition to it within his coalition.
As of Tuesday morning, Netanyahu had not sent Gallant a required letter giving the defense minister 48 hours’ notice prior to his termination taking effect. As such, Gallant remains in his post.
Netanyahu on Sunday night announced that he was firing the country’s top defense official for publicly calling for a halt to the government’s judicial reform initiative.
Gallant on Saturday called for a temporary halt to the reform program, saying the societal divide on display across the country amid mass demonstrations has found its way into the Israel Defense Forces as an increasing number of reservists threaten to refuse to report for duty.
Now that Netanyahu has paused the reform program, Shas leader Aryeh Deri and other coalition lawmakers are urging the premier to reverse the firing.
Netanyahu and Gallant held a security meeting on Tuesday afternoon, further fueling rumors that the decision would be rolled back.
At the same time, the prime minister is believed to be considering appointing Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, a former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief, as defense minister.
Netanyahu announced on Monday that he was putting a hold on the judicial reform efforts in order to “provide a real opportunity for real dialogue.”
“We are on the path toward a dangerous collision in Israeli society. We are in the midst of a crisis that endangers the basic unity between us. Such a crisis requires us all to act responsibly,” he said.