In the video: Netanyahu: "I believe that it is possible to bring about a reform that will provide an answer to both sides" (Photo: Leam)
Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Galant, a day after he warned the nation that the government's plan to weaken the justice system is a clear and immediate danger to the country's security, is one of the most frightening and shocking moves made by an Israeli prime minister since the founding of the state.
There is no other way to describe what Netanyahu did but as a move taken by dictators such as Putin or Erdogan.
Netanyahu fired Gallant at the most sensitive security period Israel has been in for years - at the beginning of the month of Ramadan and against the backdrop of dozens of warnings of attacks in the West Bank, just weeks after a serious attack by a terrorist who infiltrated Israel from Lebanon and when Iran is closer than ever to nuclear weapons.
Many officials who have met Netanyahu since the formation of the government or followed his conduct in recent weeks were amazed that the prime minister abandoned all the conservative, calculated and cautious conduct he had followed for years.
They saw another person whom they no longer recognized - a politician without any judgment whose moves can no longer be predicted.
Gallant's firing is further evidence of the change that Netanyahu has undergone.
The head of government aligned himself with the extreme line of his son Yair and the members of his Likud faction led by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.
If anyone was still deluding himself that Netanyahu was open to negotiations or some kind of compromise, the step he took this evening made it clear that he was facing an all-out confrontation with the state institutions and at least half of the people.
For weeks, Gallant tried to convince Netanyahu in private conversations.
He presented him with the threats and risks and asked him to convene the political-security cabinet so that the ministers would hear it as well.
Netanyahu stubbornly refused and continued to gallop forward.
Last Thursday, he managed to prevent Gallant from giving his speech, but within at least 48 hours the Defense Minister realized that Netanyahu had smeared him, returned to the original program and appeared in front of the television cameras.
Netanyahu changed his version several times regarding the reason for Gallant's dismissal.
First he claimed that he had lost confidence in him because he gave his speech while he was abroad and thus sabotaged efforts to reach a compromise. Later, Netanyahu claimed that Gallant was fired because he did not react decisively enough against the "threats of refusal" by the reservists.
Gallant's statement before his dismissal: to stop the legislation
In the video: Gallant called for the legislation to be stopped: "There is an immediate danger to the security of the state" (Photo: Ministry of Defense spokespersons)
First, it is not clear what efforts Netanyahu is talking about, when instead of staying in Israel and working around the clock on finding a solution, he took off on a senseless pleasure trip in London.
Second, Netanyahu's decision to fire Gallant will most likely convince tens of thousands more reservists that it is no longer possible to trust the judgment of the leadership and report for duty.
After Gallant's firing, the Israeli government is left without any significant security figure with a backbone and common sense.
It is doubtful whether the army commanders will trust former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter or any other person in the government who will agree to Netanyahu's proposal to replace Galant.
After Minister Gallant's dismissal, more than a thousand protesters arrived at the Peace Interchange.
March 26, 2023 (Photo: Uri Sela)
Netanyahu's decision to fire the defense minister further increases the serious instability in which the country is.
Israel's allies and enemies look at the events and come to one conclusion - Israel is weaker than ever.
In such a frightening situation, the citizens have nothing left but to protect themselves and their children.
The old Netanyahu we knew was looking for political ways to get out of the blunder with minimal casualties in life and property.
The tantrum in which he fired Gallant shows that he has lost his sense of reality.
Without Gallant, Edelstein and perhaps also David Bitan, Netanyahu will now rule by a margin of one or two votes.
How long can his government go on like this?
There is no political logic in this but only a loss of temper.
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