Netanyahu sacks defense minister who opposed court reform
STORY: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday after Gallant called for a halt to a controversial judicial reform plan.
Gallant, a lawmaker from Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, broke ranks on Saturday by publicly urging Netanyahu to suspend the legislation.
He said, "The growing rift in our society is penetrating the Israel Defense Forces and security agencies. This poses a clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state. I will not allow this."
His dismissal marks the largest public fracture in Netanyahu's coalition government over the proposed reforms that have sparked mass protests and even dissent from some in the nation's revered military.
Others in Netanyahu's party have begun to waver: A top lawmaker echoed the defense chief's call to pause the contested judicial overhaul on Sunday.
Dissent from the premier's own party and cabinet has compounded months of unprecedented mass protests by Israelis who fear the package of reforms could endanger court independence.
Netanyahu, who is on trial on graft charges that he denies, says the overhaul will balance out the branches of government.
A key bill effectively giving his religious-nationalist coalition more control over the appointment of judges is expected to be brought for ratification this week in the Knesset, where he and his allies wield 64 out of 120 seats.
But how - or even if - that as-yet-unscheduled vote will proceed has been thrown into question by Likud dissenters.
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