Israel’s consul general in New York quits over defense minister’s sacking

Israelis opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan protest outside of his home after the Israeli leader fired his defense minister, in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 26, 2023. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had called on Netanyahu to freeze the plan, citing deep divisions in the country and turmoil in the military. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

Israel’s consul general in New York announced his resignation on Sunday, citing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to fire Israel’s defense minister, who had urged a delay in controversial judiciary reforms.

Asaf Zamir announced his resignation in a statement posted to Twitter, saying he is becoming “increasingly concerned” with the polices of Israel’s government. He said the proposed judicial reforms have contributed to his concerns, and the sacking of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Sunday “convinced” him to step down.

“The political situation in Israel has reached a critical point, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility and moral obligation to stand up for what is right and to fight for the democratic values that I hold dear,” Zamir wrote in the statement.

Netanyahu fired Gallant on Sunday, a move that pushed thousands of protesters to the streets. Gallant had spoken out against a proposed judicial reform plan the day before he was laid off.

The plan would allow the government to overrule Supreme Court decisions and give the executive more power to appoint justices.

The proposal has sparked outrage both in Israel and internationally, as protesters have flooded the streets since the proposals were announced. U.S. lawmakers have voiced concerns over the new reforms, saying that it could threaten Israel democracy.

Zamir echoed these concerns in his statement, saying that the new reforms would “undermine” the democratic system in the country.

“This is a pivotal moment in Israel’s history, and while my time at the consulate has been fulfilling and rewarding, I believe that it is now time for me to take action and join the fight for Israel’s future alongside fellow citizens as we work together to build a better, more just and more equal Israel,” Zamir said.

“My decision to resign should not be seen as a rejection of Israel or its people. On the contrary, I am taking this step because of my deep love for my country,” he continued. “As a proud Israeli citizen, I believe it is my duty to ensure that Israel remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world.”

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Benjamin Netanyahu Israel

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