Gallant embraces need for judicial reform, but cautions against hasty rollout

Opinion: Much to the disappointment of hardline reform critics, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant does not plan to vote it down nor make public his reservations, but will continue to quietly persuade Netanyahu that rushing through legislation could be their undoing

Nahum Barnea|
Mindful of the effects of the government's push to implement far-reaching judicial reforms on military readiness and motivation among reservists, as well as the increasingly strained relationship with the United States, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has recently advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suspend the advancement of a bill that reshuffles the powerful judge selection committee in the governing coalition's favor.
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However, as of Thursday, Netanyahu has not taken Gallant's advice.
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  • That said, Gallant would likely vote in favor of advancing said legislation, thus disappointing protesters who were hoping to have a sympathetic ear in the coalition that is close to the prime minister.
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    ה כור
    ה כור
    Gallant reticent, Netanyahu adamant
    (Photo: Reuters, Kobi Kuankas)
    Furthermore, Gallant himself is not critical of the judicial overhaul and believes that protesters are overstating the effects the reform would have on Israel's democratic values, and is quite critical of retired IDF officers fanning the flames of the protest.
    Despite his convictions, he believes the timing is off and that the government would be well advised to suspend the process until the summer, using the hiatus to reach broad understandings with the opposition to simmer down tensions not only within the Knesset but the Israeli public at large.
    Gallant believes that, at the very least, even if they do not reach an understanding, they can have a clear conscience that they have done everything possible to achieve said understanding.
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    יום השיתוק - הפגנות באיירפורט סיטי
    יום השיתוק - הפגנות באיירפורט סיטי
    Protesters eager for Gallant's support will be left wanting
    (Photo: Tal Shahar)
    In political terms, Gallant is attempting to distinguish himself from Netanyahu and other coalition bigwigs without alienating loyal Likud voters. He is trying to present himself as a coalition member who possesses national awareness rather than strictly adhering to coalition ideology.
    He did not give Netanyahu an ultimatum, nor did he threaten to resign, but he does speak about national priorities that differ from those of his coalition colleagues. He prioritizes the state, the IDF, and the defense establishment over the judicial overhaul.
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