Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering firing Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who this weekend called for the government to halt its judicial reform push.
The premier is reportedly mulling appointing Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, a former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief, as the country’s next top defense official.
Gallant on Saturday night called for a temporary halt to the reform program, saying the coalition’s legislative push threatens national security.
In a televised address, he warned that the societal divide on display across the country amid mass demonstrations against the government has found its way into the Israel Defense Forces as an increasing number of reservists are threatening to refuse to show up for duty.
The minister received support for his stance from two other prominent Likud Party members—MK Yuli Edelstein and Dichter.
Israeli media reported that Dichter subsequently spoke with Netanyahu and assured him he would back the government’s legislation in the Knesset this week.
Other members of Netanyahu’s coalition criticized Gallant, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir calling for him to be fired.
“Gallant gave in tonight to blackmail and threats from all those anarchists who call for ‘resistance’ and use the IDF as a bargaining tool,” the Otzma Yehudit Party chief posted to his Twitter account.
“Gallant was elected by the votes of right-wing voters and in practice promotes a left-wing agenda. At the moment of truth he collapsed under the pressure of the media and the protesters. [I call] on the prime minister to [fire him] immediately,” Ben-Gvir continued.
Tens of thousands of people again hit the streets of across the country on Saturday night to demonstrate against the government’s reforms.
Protests leaders have called for a “Week of Paralysis” in a bid effectively to shut down the country.