Saturday night, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant committed two sins. First, he misled the Likud voters, and the right-wing voters in general, who had elected him to represent them in the Knesset and had contributed to his appointment as the Minister of Defense.
Gallant was fully aware that if a right-wing government were to be established, it would be responsible for reinforcing the separation of powers and halting the degradation of democratic foundations by the High Court of Justice and legal advisors.
Additionally, over the past few years, and particularly during the last election cycle, Gallant himself emphasized the crucial necessity for legal reform: “The judicial system has intruded with a heavy hand into areas that are the responsibility of the government and the Knesset, and today we find ourselves in a situation where the ultimate decision-maker is the Supreme Court [...] We have a significant mission – to restore the justice system to its rightful position,” he passionately declared in one of the recent election advertisements. This is merely one minor illustration.
Those who are now lauding Gallant (the very same individuals who only moments ago criticized him for blindly following Netanyahu’s directives and harming the country) will argue, “perspective is everything.” In other words, Gallant is seemingly privy to crucial information and intelligence from his position as defense minister, which he cannot disregard. However, this leads us to the more severe of Gallant’s two sins.
In his speech and his alleged decision to oppose one of the reform bills, Gallant effectively glosses over the issue of recalcitrance, which poses the greatest threat to the country’s security. Rather than the defense minister focusing tirelessly on eradicating any potential for recalcitrance and holding IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi accountable for his lack of presence at this event, Gallant opts to surrender by raising the white flag, further inflaming the anarchy and recalcitrance that are currently rampant within the nation.
If the defense minister has now yielded to the recalcitrant supporters from the left-wing faction, what will he or any future defense minister do if confronted with a recalcitrance phenomenon from the right-wing faction? If he also surrenders to them, the existence of a people’s army in Israel would be rendered futile, and the nation’s security would suffer irreparable damage.
However, if he does not yield, how can he justify the double standard and bias in this instance? Regardless, it appears that Yoav Gallant has opened up Pandora’s box that jeopardizes the country’s security while loudly proclaiming the presence of “an immediate, tangible, and explicit threat to the security of the state.”
Gallant has opened up Pandora's box
Furthermore, it is evident to everyone that the proponents of recalcitrance and anarchy are not seeking dialogue, as Gallant has proposed, but have one objective in mind – to overthrow the right-wing government and substitute it with a left-wing government. If the right-wing halts the proposed legislation at this time, it will not take place, but will also serve as a reward and incentive for recalcitrance.
NONETHELESS, THE protests are unlikely to cease. Moreover, the “opponents of the reform” will use the tools of recalcitrance and anarchy as a weapon against the government for any decision they dislike. The implication is that we are heading toward a profound abyss from which there is no return.
It is surprising that one of the accomplices in promoting recalcitrance is the Chief of Staff Halevi, whose voice is not sufficiently heard, loud enough, or whose presence is not perceptible on the ground. Moreover, not only is the chief of staff not doing enough to combat the phenomenon of recalcitrance, but he is also feeding the defense minister and the government with concerns and threats if the legal reform bill passes.
Halevi should focus on his responsibilities and refrain from involving himself in political matters. Even if there are consequences to the process of passing the legal reform (and not to the reform itself, by the way), the chief of staff should address them with determination and aggression, rather than being frightened and creating panic.
After Gallant’s speech, the “opponents of the reform” praised his move as a “brave step.” However, by choosing to remain in his position while going against the government’s policy, Gallant is not being brave but rather cowardly. His actions do not exhibit heroism but instead reveal a cynical exploitation of the Likud voters who elected him to office and whom he is supposed to represent.
If Gallant truly believes that the legal reform’s passing would be catastrophic, he should resign without delay. If he votes against the bill to modify the composition of the judge-selection committee and still refuses to resign, it is the prime minister’s responsibility to dismiss him.
Those who are unable to withstand pressure, those who are unable to lead and instead become the led (in front of the chief of staff), those who are not interested in promoting the ideology for which they were elected by the public – it is better for them to step aside and let others do it.
The writer is a researcher and holds a Ph.D. in political studies.