Protests erupt in Tel Aviv as Netanyahu dismisses defence minister over judicial reform

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu: As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed his cabinet’s defence minister for opposing his proposed judicial overhaul, protesters flooded Tel Aviv’s streets late Sunday night. Protesters stopped roads and bridges, including the main intracity motorway known as the Ayalon Highway, while yelling “democracy.” Police in Jerusalem shot water cannons at the protesters close to Netanyahu’s home.

Thousands on streets and wave blue and white Israeli flags

A day after Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s divisive proposals to reform the judiciary be put on hold, there were large demonstrations that soon descended into violence. The news that Netanyahu had fired Gallant on Sunday caused thousands to take to the streets and wave blue and white Israeli flags. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided this evening to dismiss Defence Minister Yoav Gallant,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

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Netanyahu removes the defence minister

The proposed judicial reforms will give the administration more discretion in selecting judges. The legislation will also make it more difficult for courts to remove a leader considered unsuitable for office, which appears to be in Netanyahu’s best interests given that he is presently facing corruption charges. After urging people to stop the government’s proposed legal plan, Netanyahu removes the defence minister. On Saturday, Gallant, a former navy admiral, warned that the overhaul plans risked “a clear, immediate and tangible threat to the security of the state”. By doing so, he became the first official in the cabinet to speak out against the contentious proposals to reform the judiciary in the nation. After being fired, Gallant tweeted, Gallant, “The state of Israel’s security has always been and will always be my life’s mission.”

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