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Israel’s Netanyahu fires defense minister who opposed plans to overhaul courts

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TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday, a day after Gallant called for a halt to the judicial reform that has spurred a national crisis.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided, this evening (Sunday, 26 March 2023), to dismiss Defense Minister Yoav Gallant,” said a statement by Netanyahu’s office on Sunday.

Gallant had said Saturday night that the judicial overhaul posed a security threat to Israel. Hundreds of reservists have already refused to sign up for duty and thousands more have threatened to do the same if the bills are made into law. Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halevi has, in rare publicized statements, repeatedly warned that the army cannot operate without its reservists.

On Monday, Netanyahu’s far-right government plans to advance some of the most controversial elements of its legislative blitz, including a bill to allow Knesset members larger leverage in selecting Supreme Court judges and another to allow the return of Aryeh Deri, a Netanyahu ally and the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party whom the Supreme Court ruled was unfit to serve because of a “backlog of criminal convictions.”

“We are facing a clear, immediate and tangible danger to Israel’s security,” tweeted Benny Gantz, a member of the opposition and former Defense Minister. “Tonight Netanyahu put politics and himself above security … Yoav Galant put the security of the country above all other interests.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.