ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Lapid calls on Netanyahu to reverse Gallant’s firing: ‘We have never been closer to falling apart’

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks during a Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset, on March 20, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks during a Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset, on March 20, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

Opposition leader Yair Lapid calls on the prime minister to walk back his dismissal of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after Gallant publicly called for a halt to the coalition’s legislative overhaul on the eve of part of its completion.

“Defense Minister Gallant was fired for one reason only – he was telling the truth. He did not threaten, he did not issue an ultimatum; he warned against the collapse of the people’s army in the face of a government that is trying to dismiss reality,” says Lapid, speaking at the outset of his Yesh Atid party’s Knesset faction meeting.

Lapid calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “cancel the dismissal.” Netanyahu has yet to send an official letter to the defense minister, which would start a 48-hour countdown to his dismissal.

Echoing Gallant, Lapid warns that “at this time, the State of Israel cannot, in the face of the risks in all arenas, afford a change of defense minister. We have never been closer to falling apart.”

The Yesh Atid head points to continued overnight protests, following Netanyahu’s evening announcement that he fired Gallant.

“What has happened in the last 24 hours is madness, it is a loss of momentum and a loss of way, it is proof that this government has lost control of the brakes,” he says, alleging that “an absolute majority of the country’s citizens have been feeling recently, and even more so in the past 24 hours, anxiety and distress. They cannot understand why the government insists on destroying everything that is dear to us and sacred to us.”

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