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Israeli defense minister reportedly considers resignation over judicial reforms, Likud denies report

Neither Gallant nor Netanyahu have publicly commented on the reports

Defense Minister Yoav Galant seen during a tour near the border with Lebanon, Mar. 16, 2023. (Photo: David Cohen/Flash90)

According to Israeli media reports on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in private that he might resign if no substantive compromise over the ongoing judicial reforms is achieved. 

Netanyahu reportedly relayed this message to other ministers within the government.

The reports by Israeli news sites Ynet and Channel 12 claim Gallant said he believes failure to compromise on the reforms will result in large numbers refusing to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. According to the claims, Gallant plans to resign if the Netanyahu-led government fails to find a compromise with the opposition.

Neither Gallant nor Netanyahu have publicly commented on the reports, though the Likud party, which they are both a member of, has denied the veracity of the reports.

Gallant joined the Likud party in 2018 and was appointed Israel’s defense minister following the November elections. 

The defense minister recently strongly condemned IDF soldiers who threatened to refuse to serve and said he was taking action to ensure that soldiers would not engage in such behavior. 

“Together with the Chief of Staff, the members of the general staff and with you – the commanders … I am working to keep the IDF above any political debate,” Gallant said during a recent IDF forum, according to a Jerusalem Post report.

“The IDF belongs to all of us, and we must protect it at all costs,” Gallant reportedly said.

Gallant argued that a widespread refusal to serve represents an existential threat to the State of Israel, saying that it “eats away at our basic foundation.”

Benny Gantz, a member of the opposition, who served as defense minister in Israel’s previous government, has accused Netanyahu of leading Israel into a massive, unnecessary crisis. Gantz claims Netanyahu’s pursuit of judicial reforms will indeed lead to Gallant’s resignation and that this would cause major damage to the IDF and even to U.S.-Israeli relations.

“If Netanyahu stops galloping toward the destruction of democracy, his justice minister will resign and the nation will unite. If he continues galloping, his defense minister will resign, his connection with the U.S. will break off, and the IDF will be torn apart. The choice is simple,” Gantz said. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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