“Fired” Gallant calls for unity

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was fired by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu for calling for a “unifying national process” on legislation to overhaul the judiciary.
After public protests, Gallant was reinstated, and ahead of Independence celebrations he repeated his call for unity.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called on Knesset members to deliver unifying messages ahead of Israel’s Independence celebrations. Photo: U.S. Department of State

At the end of March, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, warned that the state of Israel faces major threats – both near and far: “These days, more than ever, we face unprecedented security challenges.”

Gallant had conveyed the same concerns personally to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning at the time of increasing external threats as Israel’s enemies smelled internal weakness and division. He appealed to his own government to start a “unifying national process” on legislation to reform the judiciary.

Gallant was fired by Netanyahu the next day, but a few days later Netanyahu temporarily halted the legislative process and Gallant remained fired only in theory but not in practice.

Israel’s enemies, such as Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, had already expressed satisfaction with the political strife in Israel in early March. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said recent events in Israel are an indication that the country is nearing its end – citing the internal strife.

Rubbing hands

Israel’s enemies are “rubbing their hands” over Israel’s internal crisis, Ran Kochav, former spokesman for the IDF, Israel’s Defense Force, said in late March.

– Internal tensions in Israel are leading to a complex period of high alert, he added, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Kochav also supported fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who he said showed the leadership needed while at the helm of the Defense Ministry.

– I was in the defense minister’s general staff forum this week, and we will not say goodbye so quickly, Kochav said in the interview with the state radio station KAN Reshet Bet on Friday, March 31.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on April 10 that Gallant would remain as defense minister. Yoav Gallant quickly became the most popular Israeli minister and in mid-April reached his highest approval rating since 2011, the Jerusalem Post reported. With 54 percent, he is the only minister who has positive trust figures.

Urged to unity

Ahead of Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days, Defense Minister Gallant urged Israel’s politicians to deliver unifying messages during the annual ceremonies at the country’s military cemeteries. In a letter to ministers and Knesset members, he asked them to emphasize unity in their official speeches.

“I would like to contact the ministers and members of the Knesset through you and ask them to express statesmanlike and Zionist messages in their speeches at ceremonies at the burial sites,” Gallant wrote in a letter to Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana and Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office Yossi Fuchs, reports Jewish News Syndicate.

“We must deliver a unifying message to Israeli society. In our cemeteries the martyrs of Israel’s wars, from every part of society are buried, and the people who’ve given their lives for our country.”

Gallant, meanwhile, warned of a multi-front war in the near future which he saw as far more likely for Israel than a limited conflict.

“This is the end of the era of limited conflict,” Gallant said at a press conference, describing Iran as a pushover, according to The Times of Israel.