Following the decision, tens of thousands of protesters blocked a motorway in Tel Aviv…reports Asian Lite News
Protesters gathered on streets in Israel’s capital Tel Aviv after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for challenging his judicial overhaul plan, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.
Following the decision, tens of thousands of protesters blocked a motorway in Tel Aviv, while police clashed with crowds in front of Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem The unrest exacerbated a months-long crisis over Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s court system, which has given rise to mass protests, and alarmed the US and other close allies.
The White House in a statement released on Monday expressed concern over the firing of Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and has said that there is an “urgent need for compromise”.
The White House released a statement saying, “We are deeply concerned by the developments out of Israel, which further underscore the urgent need for compromise. As the President (Joe Biden) recently discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, democratic values have always been and must remain, a hallmark of the US-Israel relationship.”
“Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances, and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support. We continue to strongly urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible. We believe that is the best path forward for Israel and all of its citizens. US support for Israel’s security and democracy remains ironclad,” the statement further said.
According to Al Jazeera, the dismissal of the Defence Minister signalled that the prime minister and his allies will press ahead with the overhaul plan this week.
Yoav Gallant called for a halt to the judicial reforms in a speech on Saturday, when Netanyahu was out of the country on an official visit to the United Kingdom. Some military reservists have committed to pulling out of their service in opposition to the plans, which critics have said would undermine the independence of the judiciary, according to a CNN report.
Yoav Gallant said going ahead with the proposals could pose a threat to Israel’s security. The statement by Gallant, who is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, upset Israel’s coalition government.
An official in Netanyahu’s office said the Israel PM had lost confidence in Gallant, adding that he had not cleared the statement in advance and had “thus sabotaged efforts to reach a solution.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s Consulate General in New York, Asaf Zamir, resigned after Netanyahu’s decision to fire Gallant. In his resignation letter posted on Twitter, Zamir termed it a “dangerous decision.”
Herzog urges to halt judicial overhaul
Israeli President Isaac Herzog has called for an end to the highly contested judicial overhaul proposed by the government. This comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, for opposing the move, which led to mass protests in cities across Israel.
Herzog said on Twitter: “For the sake of the unity of the people of Israel, for the sake of responsibility, I call on you to stop the legislative process immediately.”
“I appeal to the heads of all Knesset factions, coalition and opposition alike, to put the citizens of the country above all else, and to act responsibly and courageously without further delay. Come to your senses now! This is not a political moment, this is a moment for leadership and responsibility,” Herzog added.
Despite his largely ceremonial role, Herzog’s plea for unity among the people of Israel highlights the seriousness of the divisions caused by the controversial proposals. Tens of thousands took to the streets in protest following Netanyahu’s announcement of Gallant’s dismissal.
In a separate tweet, Herzog said: “We saw very difficult plays tonight. I am addressing the Prime Minister, the members of the government and the companies and members of the coalition: the feelings are difficult and painful. Deep concern surrounds the entire nation. Security, the economy, society – all are threatened. The eyes of all the people of Israel are on you. The eyes of the entire Jewish people are on you. The eyes of the whole world are on you.”