Mass protests erupt in Israel after Netanyahu fires defense minister


Israelis carry the national flag during a protest march for democracy and against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform on Thursday. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License photo

March 26 (UPI) — Mass protests erupted Sunday night across Israel after the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Galant, who called for a suspension of the far-right governments’ controversial judicial reform law.

The Prime Minister’s office confirmed the dismissal of press release on Sunday, prompting thousands of people to take to the streets that night.

Protesters blocked highways in Tel Aviv and demonstrated outside the Israeli Knesset and Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, clashing with police, local police Haaretz reported.

Israel Police warned v statement that they will allow the right to protest, but “we will not allow disruption of order, damage to state symbols, damage to infrastructure and the police.”

Gallant’s dismissal followed weeks of protests against a government reform plan that would hand power to appoint judges to Netanyahu’s ruling far-right coalition government. The Knesset has a vote on part of the reform bill scheduled for Wednesday.

Gallant spoke out against the reform in a speech on Saturday night, saying it threatened Israel’s security.

“For the security of Israel, for the sake of our sons and daughters: at this time we must stop the legislative process and go to negotiations,” Gallant said in tweet on Saturday. “We need to stop demonstrations and protests — and start a dialogue.”

Gallant is just one of several government figures expressing reservations about the reform plan, which would weaken the power of the Israeli judiciary to Supreme Court. Opposition leader Yair Lapid said parliament should suspend its schedule to discuss the changes in more detail. President Isaac Duke has called an account “repressive”.

And Asaf Zamir, Israel’s consul general in New York, resigned Sunday night, saying it was time for him to rejoin the fight for his country’s future.

“This is a pivotal moment in Israel’s history,” he said statement. “My decision to resign should not be seen as a rejection of Israel or its people. On the contrary, I am taking this step because of my deep love for my country. As a proud citizen of Israel, I consider it my duty to ensure that Israel remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world”.

After his dismissal on Sunday, Gallant tweeted: “The security of the State of Israel has always been and will remain the mission of my life.”

Opposition to the judicial reform plan went beyond government officials. The military threatened to walk off their posts, and all but one of Israel’s universities announced plans to strike.

In a speech on Saturday, Gallant warned that more IDF officials could protest if the bill is pushed through. Axios.

“The prime minister told Galant that he had lost confidence in him. Gallant did not coordinate his speech with the prime minister and sabotaged efforts to reach a solution,” a Netanyahu aide told Axios.

At the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the Biden administration is “deeply concerned” by recent events in the Middle Eastern country, which underscores the “urgent need for compromise.”

“Democratic values ​​have always been and must remain a hallmark of US-Israel relations,” she said in statement. “We continue to urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible.” Mass protests erupt in Israel after Netanyahu fires defense minister

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