Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Saturday night made a dramatic declaration calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the judicial overhaul long enough to more deeply engage in negotiations with other to reach a compromise.
Gallant said, “The breach within the nation has penetrated deep into the IDF and the defense establishment - this is a clear and major threat to the security of Israel…I will not allow this.”
He also called on the opposition to stop IDF reservist strikes and protests against the government during any new negotiations.
The defense minister said, “I have risked and will risk my life,” for Israel, but “The dangers around us are large. Iran is close to nuclear military capability than ever. The Palestinian arena is also burning.”
“The IDF is a great army…along with the partner security forces,” but that due to fights over the judicial overhaul, in recent weeks, “Something fell apart,” he said.
Gallant explained, “I hear the voices from the [military] field and I am worried. What is happening to Israeli society does not pass over IDF. I see the strength of our forces being weakened.”
He said he is committed to the Likud’s values, ‘but Israel is above everything.”
"Victory by one of the sides, in the Knesset committee rooms or in the city streets would be a loss for the State of Israel."
Further, he said, “We need a change in the judiciary. The balance between the branches needs a new balance, which will strengthen public faith. But massive changes must be done with dialogue.”
This past Thursday, Gallant had been expected to make a declaration against the judicial reform but canceled the speech after a meeting with Netanyahu.
However, it appears that Gallant saw that Netanyahu’s speech did not calm the country’s temperament and fix the growing trend of IDF reservists threatening to strike and not show up for their training.
Lapid welcomes Gallant's statement
"Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is leading a courageous and essential step for the security of the State of Israel," said opposition leader Yair Lapid. "The judicial overhaul strongly harms national security, and it is his job and responsibility to stop the dangerous deterioration.
"This is the moment of truth. I call on the government - stop everything. Don't try to pass the change to the judicial selection committee or the Deri Law, and let's negotiate at the presidential residence."
"I respect Gallant for his rare political courage and for telling Netanyahu the truth," said Labor leader Merav Michaeli. "The judicial overhaul is a clear and present danger to Israel and its security. Stopping the legislation isn't a surrender but a strategic move for the sake of the people and the nation."
Likud MK David Bitan sided with Gallant, saying "as I said a few weeks ago, we need to stop the legislation and start negotiating immediately and come to agreements."
"I thank Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for joining the way I've been paving for weeks," said Likud MK Yuli Edelstein. "Most of the people want and understand the need for changes to the judiciary, but it needs to be done patiently with widespread negotiations to come to agreements. The State of Israel is strong and will continue to be strong - together."
Ben-Gvir calls for Netanyahu to fire Gallant
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir did not welcome Gallant's statement, however.
"I call on the prime minister to fire Gallant who entered the Defense Ministry with the RIght's votes but gave in to the pressures of refusing orders and is trying to put an end to an important reform," he said.
Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi was on Ben-Gvir's side, apologizing to right-wing voters "for our defense minister giving in to pressure from the Left."
He added that "we won't cancel the people's vote to satisfy the elite and the media."