Report: Gallant to remain defense minister – if apology is worded correctly

Both the timing and content of Gallant’s urging last week to halt the judicial reform process had angered the prime minister.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud) will reportedly be able to remain in his post if an apology regarding his urging last week to halt the judicial reform process is worded correctly.

According to reports by Channel 12, Channel 13, and Kan, Gallant is willing to apologize publicly for the timing of his demand to delay the legislation so that compromises could be reached. The Channel 12 report added that in order to retain his position, Gallant would also need apologize regarding its content.

The minister had called for the delay of the judicial reform plan in a press conference last Saturday night, saying that the “growing rift in our society” is posing “a clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state” because of the threats by more than a thousand reserve soldiers, including elite pilots, not to show up for training if the government pushes forward with its reforms.

He had spoken while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in London and it was still the Sabbath there. According to his confidantes, Netanyahu was furious that Gallant had expressed his opposition when they had ostensibly agreed just two days earlier that he would hold off, but even more angry because it was done while he was abroad and could not even publicly react immediately due to Sabbath restrictions.

There have been rounds of meetings held during the week between Gallant and other Likud ministers, as well as with Shas leader Aryeh Deri, to attempt a conciliation with Netanyahu.

Deri has reportedly suggested that in his apology, Gallant additionally make it clear that he opposes the soldiers’ threats to refuse due to their opposition to the suggested reforms, and this would be enough to have him retain his position.

Last Sunday evening, the prime minister’s office had put out a statement saying that Netanyahu had “lost confidence” in Gallant due to his “feeble and weak response against the refusals in the IDF.”

When petitions signed by hundreds of soldiers on the subject began surfacing over recent weeks, Netanyahu had publicly stated that this was it was an unacceptable phenomenon as it directly threatened Israel’s safety.

Netanyahu has not officially fired Gallant, however, and he is still serving as defense minister, as the prime minister has yet to send a written dismissal letter as the law demands. Netanyahu also called for the freeze Gallant had demanded the very next day, after the Histadrut Labor Federation called a general strike to begin immediately, partly in reaction to the announced firing.

Members of both the coalition and opposition have called for Gallant to remain, in light of the numerous security threats Israel faces. Having to bring another minister up to speed regarding the volatile situation in Judea and Samaria, with its ongoing Palestinian terror attacks, and the ever-present danger from Iranian proxies on Israel’s borders, as well as the threat from Iran’s nuclear build-up, is considered a luxury Israel cannot afford.

Even National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ardent supporter of the controversial reform who initially welcomed the dismissal as a senior minister should not go against his own government’s policies, has said that the decision should be rescinded.

The soldiers, and the hundreds of thousands of protestors who have filled city streets over the last three months, fear the judicial reforms will weaken Israel’s democratic character. The coalition believes that the country’s democracy has been undermined for decades, since an unelected judiciary has arrogated for itself too much power to overturn Knesset legislation and dictate government actions, and it is now seeking to rein that power in.