Netanyahu May Have Failed in Bid to Fire Defense Chief

Days later, Yoav Gallant is still on the job amid national unrest
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2023 10:30 AM CDT
Confusion Over a Firing Illustrates Netanyahu Trouble
Anti-government demonstrators block streets and clash with police during a protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

As a sign of how chaotic things are in Israel, this is a pretty good one. On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu announced he'd fired his defense minister. On Tuesday, the official, Yoav Gallant, was still on the job. The reason for that is unclear, with one theory that Gallant is simply "refusing to step down," per the Guardian. Whatever the reason, both the Guardian and the Times of Israel say Netanyahu has yet to follow through with formal notification of Gallant's dismissal, and thus the defense chief's aides say he's remaining in the post. Over the weekend, Gallant criticized Netanyahu's controversial plan to weaken the nation's Supreme Court. When the prime minister fired him in response, protests about the plan escalated and largely brought the nation to a standstill.

On Monday, Netanyahu put his judicial plan on pause. And the confusion of Gallant's status is raising questions about "Netanyahu's control over and credibility within his governing coalition, which includes a mixture of right-wing nationalists, religious leaders, and far-right firebrands," per the Guardian. According to the Times of Israel, Gallant warned lawmakers in a closed-door session that Israel's enemies might take advantage of the current unrest to attack, making it the worst possible time to change defense ministers. (More Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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