Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is reportedly considering an apology for the timing of his statement against the government’s push to reform the judiciary, as part of a compromise aimed at keeping him in his job, according to reports on Wednesday.
Gallant on Saturday night called for the controversial legislative process to be suspended, citing the security implications of the proposals.
The following day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced they were being mourned, sparking massive protests across the country. Under intense pressure, Netanyahu stopped the legislative push, as requested by Gallant, on Monday.
Gallant is still serving as defense minister, with no official notice of termination yet given.
Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri and other coalition figures are urging Netanyahu to reverse the decision to fire Gallant, and Deri is mediating between the two, according to Hebrew media reports.
Deri and Gallant met on Wednesday to talk about a compromise deal with Netanyahu that would keep Gallant in his job, according to the Walla news site and public broadcaster Kan.
Gallant can apologize for the timing of his statement against the legislation, without the substance of his warning about security threats that have gone back, the reports said.
Gallant called for the legislation to be halted while Netanyahu is visiting the UK. Before the trip, Gallant pressed Netanyahu to pause the legislation, and the prime minister reportedly asked Gallant for a few days to work out a solution.
Netanyahu was reportedly furious with Gallant’s decision to hold his press conference after he had previously told Netanyahu he would wait on it, and not coordinate it with the capital.
Responding to reports on Wednesday, the leader of the opposition Labor party, Merav Michaeli, urged Gallant to “stick to his values” and not apologise.
“If there is someone who needs to apologize for his irresponsible behavior during the shooting of Gallant – it is Netanyahu, not Gallant,” she said, adding that the defense minister had issued her warning “at the right time. “
Gallant’s future, and questions about a possible successor to the Defense Minister, have been in the spotlight since Netanyahu announced his removal from office.
Netanyahu met Wednesday with Economy Minister Nir Barkat, who is seen as a potential candidate for the job.
A spokesman for Barkat said he will “take what the prime minister gives him.”
Netanyahu has previously tried to sideline Barkat, a former Jerusalem mayor and tech tycoon, relegating him to relatively minor roles in the past.
Netanyahu was also considering several other prominent Likud members for the role, including Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter and Energy Minister Israel Katz, reports said.
Netanyahu held talks with Dichter, the former head of Shin Bet, who was seen as the leading candidate to replace Gallant.
Netanyahu, however, is reluctant to appoint Dichter, according to a Wednesday Channel 12 report.
Netanyahu is concerned that Dichter would not be on board with plans for a strike against Iran, the report said. Dichter also seemed out of sorts earlier Wednesday by issuing a statement trying to find a way to reinstate Gallant.
Some members of the coalition who supported Gallant’s dismissal are likely to oppose Gallant leaving his post, arguing that the defense minister’s decision to request a legislative recess was capitulation to military reservists who refused to serve until the judicial change. suspended.
Gallant issued his warning about Israel’s security as the number of reserves protesting the legislation grew, and as Israel’s ties with other countries, including the US, deteriorated due to the legislation and other government policies.
In a closed meeting of the Defense and Foreign Affairs committee on Monday, Gallant revealed intelligence that showed that Israel’s regional security was at risk due to internal schisms due to the now-paused reform, especially due to a possible weakening of US support , the Ynet news outlet reported.
“We have an unprecedentedly serious crisis,” Gallant told the committee.
Israel-US ties suffered another blow on Tuesday, when US President Joe Biden said that Israel “cannot continue down this road,” and that Netanyahu would not be invited to the White House in the “near term.”
The statement was seen as a major crisis for Israel’s standing with the United States, although the dispute appeared to have cooled on Wednesday with a message of praise for Netanyahu from the White House.
The tension surrounding the judicial reform has eased significantly since Netanyahu announced the legislative freeze and the government and the opposition began negotiations aimed at reaching a compromise on the issue.
The plan to restrict the judiciary is still a ticking time bomb, however, as protest leaders believe the government still intends to go through with the plan, and is only biding its time .