Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday oversaw the launch of a new spy satellite, just days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would sack Gallant from his post, sparking a wave of backlash.
Gallant broke ranks with Netanyahu over the weekend when he called for a halt to the prime minister’s judicial reform plan, which has sparked mass protests among civilians and the military.
Netanyhau said in a brief statement on Sunday that he had decided to fire Gallant. A day later, however, he agreed with other officials to postpone his coalition’s plan for a judiciary review until the next parliamentary session.
With judicial reform on hold, Gallant’s future remains bleak. After overseeing Wednesday’s launch, he said the Ofek 13 satellite was “further evidence of the groundbreaking technological innovation that characterizes the Israeli security system.”
“Israel has demonstrated many times its diverse space capabilities and is among a limited list of countries that have those capabilities that we will continue to develop and deepen,” Gallant said in a statement.
Ofek 13 is a “radar-based observation satellite” that will “enable day and night imaging” and “will greatly improve the intelligence of the State of Israel,” according to Avi Berger, the Israel Defense Ministry’s director of space.
The Israeli Defense Ministry and Netanyahu’s office on Wednesday did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gallant’s status.
NETANYAHU SAYS PIERS MORGAN’S DEMOCRACY IS SECURE IN ISRAEL DESPITE HIS STEPS TO BREAK CONTROL OF ‘TOO POWERFUL’
Netanyahu’s pause on the judicial review plan came after large sections of society shut down on Monday and universities, hospitals and transport hubs ground to a halt amid a strike.
The prime minister has argued that unelected judges of the Supreme Court wield too much power and wants to limit judicial review of laws while giving the ruling coalition the final say on judge appointments.
“There is another thing that characterizes the judiciary in Israel and that is that the judges veto the appointment of judges, they effectively choose themselves and that doesn’t exist in any democracy. The reform we are looking at right now corrects that,” Netanyahu told Piers Morgan in an interview aired on Fox Nation this week.
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The Umbrella Movement leadership, which has organized protests against the reforms, said the reforms should be flatly opposed.
“The government has brought Israel close to destruction and still threatens to dismantle democracy. A temporary freeze is not enough and national protests will continue to escalate until the law is defeated in the Knesset,” the groups said in a statement.
Israel’s next parliamentary session begins April 30.
Source : www.foxnews.com