Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant oversaw the launch of a new spy satellite on Wednesday, just days away Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He said he would oust Gallant from his post, which sparked a wave of backlash.
Gallant broke with Netanyahu over the weekend when he called for a halt to the prime minister’s judicial reform plan, which has sparked mass protests between civilians and the military.
Netanyahu said in a brief statement on Sunday that he I decided to fire Gallant. A day later, he reached an agreement with other officials to delay his coalition’s plan for judicial reform until the next parliamentary session.
While judicial reform has paused, Gallant’s future remains uncertain. Overseeing Wednesday’s launch, he said the Ofek 13 satellite was “further evidence of the pioneering technological innovation that characterizes Israel’s security system.”
“Israel already has “It has demonstrated its diverse capabilities in the field of space many times and is among a limited list of countries that possess these capabilities, which we will continue to develop and deepen,” Gallant said in a statement.
Ofek 13 is a “radar-based surveillance satellite” that will allow “day and night imaging capabilities” and “significantly improve the intelligence of the State of Israel,” according to Avi Berger, head of the Space Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Israel’s Defense Ministry and Netanyahu’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday on Galant’s status.
Netanyahu’s pause on the judicial reform plan came after large parts of society were closed on Monday, with universities, hospitals and transportation hubs halted amid a strike.
The prime minister has argued that unelected Supreme Court justices hold too much power and wants to limit judicial review of laws while giving the ruling coalition the final say on judicial appointments.
Another thing that distinguishes the judiciary in Israel is that the judges object to it Appointment of judgesThey effectively choose themselves and this does not exist in any democracy. The reform we are dealing with now corrects that,” Netanyahu told Piers Morgan in an interview that aired on Fox Nation this week.
The leadership of the Umbrella Movement, which has organized protests against the reforms, said the reforms should be rejected outright.
“The government has brought Israel close to destruction and continues to threaten to dismantle democracy. A temporary freeze is not enough, and national protests will continue to escalate until the law is rejected in the Knesset,” the organizations said in a statement.
Israel’s next parliamentary sessions begin on April 30.