Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants a parliamentary vote this week on the judicial appointments provision. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked his defense minister on Sunday, Mar. 26, for defying the government's position on a contentious proposal to strengthen government control over the country's judicial system.

According to the Times of Israel, crowds of people assaulted the barricades outside of Netanyahu's home in Jerusalem while a sea of demonstrators marched in Tel Aviv.

As a result of the unrest, universities were scheduled to close on Monday, and Israel's largest labor union was anticipated to call for a national strike, New York Post reported.

The firing of Gallant also led Israel's consul general in New York, Asaf Zamir, to quit, with the diplomat tweeting it's "now time for me to join the fight for Israel's future to ensure it remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world."

Netanyahu had summoned Yoav Gallant, a former army general, to his office and told him "that he doesn't have any faith in him anymore and therefore he is fired," Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distal Atbaryan said.

The abrupt action occurred one day after Gallant openly asked for the temporary suspension of legislation that would grant the parliament's ruling coalition final authority over all judicial appointments.

The prime minister's office did not disclose any additional information about the sudden action.

The proposal would also allow the government to overrule Supreme Court rulings with a simple majority and restrict judges' capacity to evaluate laws.

This has caused a great deal of outrage and anxiety among Israel's allies, particularly the United States.

Netanyahu wants a parliamentary vote this week on the judicial appointments provision, but Gallant urged that it be put on hold until after next month's Independence Day holiday, citing divisions in the military.

"The growing rift in our society is penetrating the [Israel Defense Forces] and security agencies," he said during a televised speech, according to The Times of Israel. "This poses a clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state. I will not lend my hand to this."

Opposition leader Yair Lapid called Gallant's ouster a "new low for the anti-Zionist government that harms national security and ignores warnings of all defense officials."

"The prime minister of Israel is a threat to the security of the state of Israel," Lapid wrote on Twitter.

Zamir wrote in his resignation letter, "Today's dangerous decision to fire the Minister of Defense, convinced me that I can no longer continue representing this Government.

"I have become increasingly concerned with the policies of the new government, and in particular, the judicial reform it is leading."

After his appointment in 2021, Zamir told The Post that his priorities included fighting "cancel culture," saying it was part of his job "to explain the difference between, for example, criticizing Israel or objecting to their right to exist."

In three different cases involving affluent associates and significant media moguls, Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust, and receiving bribes.

He has refuted claims that he is trying to change the legal system in order to avoid justice and denies any wrongdoing.

Gallant, a prominent figure in Netanyahu's Likud party, was the first official in the ruling coalition to voice opposition to the prime minister's proposal to restructure the judicial system.

According to The New York Times on Sunday, two further coalition members have agreed with Gallant's request for a delay, and one more defection could result in the government losing its parliamentary majority.

The Times said that the legislative Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, which is drafting the proposed law's text, used its majority authority to quickly dismiss hundreds of complaints on Sunday.

According to reports, the majority of the committee's opposition lawmakers were expelled from the meeting after being accused of upsetting the peace.

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