Defense Minister Gallant in a March video address

In a fiery series of remarks reported by Israeli media, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant did not hold back in his criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decisions regarding the hostage deal and the contentious Haredi draft law. The Israeli public was left in shock as Gallant accused Netanyahu of enabling the opposition to destabilize the government, potentially leading to its downfall.

Gallant's condemnation came during a heated government meeting. He declared, “Netanyahu is permitting the opposition to overthrow the government and will bring defeat.” These words echoed through the corridors of power, underscoring the profound discord within the Israeli leadership.

Political Turmoil: Netanyahu vs. Gallant

Prime Minister Netanyahu, visibly incensed, rebuked Gallant’s stance on the Conscription Law, calling it “the height of cynicism and politicization.” The disagreement between the two officials highlighted a growing rift within the government. Gallant responded fiercely, denouncing the political maneuvering that linked the release of abductees with the recruitment of ultra-Orthodox men. He deemed this tactic “dangerous and irresponsible.”

The tension escalated as Gallant condemned the government's failure to extend the regular service amidst threats from the north and terrorism in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). “In the face of Iranian aggression, we are playing politics instead of forging agreements,” he stated, expressing frustration at the government's prioritization of political gains over national security.

Conscription Law Controversy

Gallant’s push for broader approval of the Conscription Law, with support from Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, was met with fierce opposition from Likud ministers. Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi accused Gallant of attempting to incite discord within the coalition, potentially leading to early elections. “’Broad agreement’ in the conscription law is a code name for giving Gantz a key to overthrowing the government,” Karhi asserted.

Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman and Energy Minister Eli Cohen echoed Karhi’s sentiments, insisting that the drafting of ultra-Orthodox men and raising the age of service should not be intertwined. Netanyahu supported this view, arguing that “the need to give Gantz the veto is politics. They don't want conscription of the ultra-Orthodox. They want a crisis."

A Fragile Government

Netanyahu, attempting to restore order, granted a week for an understanding to be reached with the Treasury. However, the underlying tensions were palpable. Gallant reiterated the sensitivity of the current situation, emphasizing the need for a hostage deal and condemning any political attempts to link it with draft exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox as reckless.

The rift between Gallant and Netanyahu traces back to March 2023, when Netanyahu announced Gallant’s dismissal following his critique of the government's judicial overhaul. Public outcry forced Netanyahu to reverse his decision, but the relationship has remained strained.

Members of the current government have repeatedly called for Gallant’s dismissal, reflecting the deep divisions within Netanyahu's administration. As the nation watches, the outcome of this internal conflict remains uncertain, but one thing is clear: the political landscape in Israel is more turbulent than ever.

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