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Netanyahu to keep Gallant as defense minister

The prime minister announced Yoav Gallant's sacking last week for calling to freeze the judicial reforms.

From left: Israel Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi visit the IAF control center, Jan. 25, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
From left: Israel Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi visit the IAF control center, Jan. 25, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reversed course and will for the time being keep Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in his post.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office cited ongoing security tensions as the reason.

Netanyahu announced Gallant’s dismissal last Sunday but did not send him the required letter giving 48 hours’ notice prior to his termination taking effect.

The previous night, Gallant drew Netanyahu’s ire by calling in an address to the nation for a halt to the government’s judicial reform program.

Reports subsequently surfaced thereafter that Gallant was considering apologizing for speaking out while Netanyahu was abroad, in a bid to retain his position.

A source close to Netanyahu said on Monday that “due to the current security situation, the prime minister will address the matter of the defense minister at a later time.”

After Netanyahu paused the reforms to “provide a real opportunity for real dialogue,” Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri and other coalition lawmakers began urging the premier to reverse the sacking.

Deri has reportedly been mediating between Netanyahu and Gallant, who met last Tuesday for a security briefing despite the developments.

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