Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for publicly opposing the government's plans to overhaul the country's judiciary. The move comes amid growing tensions within Netanyahu's coalition government over proposed changes to Israel's legal system.
Gallant, a former general and member of Netanyahu's Likud party, had criticized the judicial reforms as a threat to national security in a statement on Saturday night. He argued that independent courts were necessary to maintain stability and protect democratic values.
"I am deeply concerned about any attempt to undermine the independence of our judiciary," Gallant said. "Such actions would only serve to weaken our democracy and harm our national security."
Netanyahu, however, has been pushing for changes that would give him greater control over appointments to Israel's Supreme Court and other key judicial bodies. Critics have accused him of seeking to neutralize potential challenges from the judiciary as he faces corruption charges.
The prime minister did not give a reason for Gallant's dismissal but issued a statement thanking him for his service. He also appointed Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi as interim defense minister until a permanent replacement can be found.
The move is likely to further strain relations between Netanyahu and his coalition partners, who have already expressed concern about his handling of both domestic issues and foreign policy matters. It remains unclear how much support he will be able to muster in parliament for his controversial proposals.
Netanyahu is currently facing trial on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust stemming from three separate corruption cases. He denies any wrongdoing but could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.