Once again, huge demonstrations in downtown Tel-Aviv against the hasty push led by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, Knesset Judicial Affairs Committee chair Simcha Rothman, and Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich to transform our arguably overly powerful Supreme Court into the other extreme of becoming a complete lapdog of the executive.
In a not entirely unexpected development, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has now called for a pause, citing ‘tangible danger to state security’.
Now he has been joined by Knesset Foreign Affairs committee chair Yuli Edelstein (formerly Speaker of the Knesset and Health Minister) and by a rank-and-file Likud MK, David Bitan.
Edelstein, who is the chair of the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, says he thanks Gallant for “joining the path I’ve been leading for weeks.”
“The majority of the people want and understand the need for changes in the judicial system, but this must be done with patience, dialogue, and broad discourse in order to reach a broad consensus,” he says in a statement.https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/likud-mks-edelstein-bitan-back-gallants-call-to-halt-judicial-overhaul/
Moreover, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter earlier called on Netanyahu for a pause — note that Dichter is not some hack politician but a former chief of the Shaba”k=General Security Service, which operates in Israel and the disputed territories. (The Mossad’s area of recognizance is the rest of the world.)
Predictably, “ha-leitzan TikTok” (the TikTok clown) Itamar Ben-Gvir has yelled for Gallant to be fired
and for all to prostate [sic] ourselves before the holy “zayin” of Meir Kahane. From the other side of the fence, opposition leader Yair Lapid equally predictably praised Gallant’s decision. His deputy, former Defense Minister (and IDF Chief of Staff) Benny Gantz, appears to have been in contact with Gallant beforehand and certainly approves.
There were other Likudniks who expressed reservations in recent days, such as Economics Minister (and former Jerusalem mayor) Nir Barkat, who (being a former hitech executive turned venture capitalist) was warning of potentially catastrophic economic impact.
UPDATE: Netanyahu apparently considering replacing Gallant with Dichter (the only “general” other than Gallant in his cabinet); Dichter has said he will vote in favor of the reform despite his personal reservations. (12:33 update here, in Hebrew https://www.ynet.co.il/news/category/184)
UPDATE 2 : and that dangerous postmodern leftist and “anarchist” (/sarc) Prof. Moshe Koppel, head of the Kohelet Policy Forum that has been the architect of the corrent “reform” proposals, now is calling the most controversial aspect of the “reform”, the “override law” that allows the Knesset to set aside a Supreme Court ruling with a simple majority, “idiotic” (indeed). https://www.timesofisrael.com/head-of-think-tank-behind-judicial-push-sees-dead-end-for-idiotic-override-clause/
In leaked comments aired by Channel 13 news, Prof. Moshe Koppel, head of the Kohelet Policy Forum, says ultra-Orthodox political interests were responsible for the inclusion of a court override mechanism in the controversial package, and predicts the measure will not become law.
“Our advice to [Justice Minister] Yariv Levin and to [Religious Zionism MK] Simcha Rothman was that the override is completely idiotic,” Koppel is heard telling a small crowd. “We never wanted the override. It was a political matter.”
[…] Koppel told the group that he did not see the override bill making it into law, indicating that the governing coalition would have been happy to offer it up in a bargain with the opposition.
“There’s not going to be an override; nobody ever thought there was going to be an override,” he said in the recording. “I am telling you, listen to me, read my lips: There is not going to be an override.”
“Had [National Unity party head] Benny Gantz come the next day and said ‘Get rid of the override, fix up some of the other problems with the other things and we’ll be willing to make a deal with you,’ the override would have been gone in an instant,” Koppel said.
The Prime Minister’s Office announces that Yoav Gallant “has been reassigned” from the Defense Ministry. In the last few years, I have gone from being a qualified admirer of Netanyahu to ambivalence, but the last few weeks have made me lose whatever respect for him I still had left.
UPDATE 3: Reactions via the Jerusalem Post: https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-735495
In a tweet, opposition head Yair Lapid said that Gallant’s firing, “just because he warned of a threat to Israel’s security, is a new low for this anti-Zionist government. Netanyahu can fire Gallant, but he can’t fire reality and he can’t fire the Israelis who are standing up against this coalition’s insanity.”
“The prime minister is a danger to Israel’s security,” Lapid alleged.
Netanyahu proved on Sunday that Israel’s security is not his chief priority, [stated] former IDF chief of staff MK Gadi Eisenkot. “Gallant’s dismissal is a disgrace to Netanyahu’s legacy and a dangerous bet on all of our lives.”
“We face a clear and immediate danger to Israel’s security,” former defense minister MK Benny Gantz wrote in reaction to Gallant’s dismissal. “This evening, Netanyahu put politics and himself above security.”