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Protests erupt in Israel after Prime Minister NETANYAHU fires the Defense Minister for opposing the contentious judicial overhaul (VIDEO)


Tens of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, for speaking out against Netanyahu’s controversial plans to overhaul the justice system.

Water cannons were used against demonstrators near Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem by police and soldiers.

The reforms include plans to give the government veto power over the committee that appoints judges.

The reform would also make it more difficult for courts to remove a leader deemed unfit for office, which has enraged many who believe it would benefit Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for corruption.

Protesters say the reforms will turn Israel into a dictatorship because there will be no check on the executive and legislative powers. Netanyahu says the reforms are designed to prevent the supreme courts from having too much power and that they were voted for by the public in the last election.

Gallant, a former soldier who has been hearing from reservists who are unhappy with the proposed law change for weeks, spoke out against it on Saturday, saying members of the Israeli Defense Forces are angry and disappointed.

Netanyahu, who was out of the country at the time of Gallant’s TV appearance, fired him on Sunday, saying he no longer trusted him as defense minister.

The news of Gallant’s dismissal reawakened the protests that had been going on in Israel for the previous week, and their numbers tripled.

After protesting outside Netanyahu’s home, demonstrators – many of whom were waving Israeli flags and banging pots and pans – evaded police and made their way to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Protesters waving flags blocked one of Tel Aviv’s main highways for more than two hours before being cleared by mounted police and water cannon.

Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, took to Twitter early Monday morning to call on the government to halt the reforms.

“I call on you to stop the legislative process immediately for the sake of the unity of the people of Israel, for the sake of responsibility,” he said on Twitter, adding that “the eyes of all the people of Israel are on you.”

The United States also expressed deep concern about the developments and called for a compromise.

“As the president recently discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, democratic values have always been, and must remain, a hallmark of the US-Israel relationship,” a White House spokeswoman said.

She went on to say that “fundamental changes” to a democratic system should be “pursued with as broad a base of popular support as possible.”

“We continue to urge Israeli leaders to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”

Gallant and Nethayanhu are both Likud party members.

Gallant took to Twitter after being fired to reaffirm: “The security of the state of Israel has always been and will always be my life’s mission.”

Yair Lapid, Israel’s opposition leader, called Gallant’s dismissal a “new low” for the government.

“Netanyahu can fire Gallant, but he can’t fire reality or the Israelis who are standing up to the coalition’s lunacy,” Lapid added.

Watch the video below.



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