Ben Gvir threatens to quit coalition if judicial reforms halted

The national security minister screamed at Benjamin Netanyahu during a Knesset debate


Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir seen at the entrance to the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, March 9, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ?? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ??????? ????? ????? ?? ????

(JNS) Israeli National Security Minister and Otzma Yehudit Party chief Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened to leave the ruling coalition on Monday if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu freezes its judicial reform program.

The threat was delivered during a stormy meeting at the Knesset, during which Ben-Gvir could be heard screaming at the prime minister.

Otzma Yehudit has six seats in the 120-member Knesset, and without them, Netanyahu’s 64-seat coalition would lose its majority and almost certainly collapse.

Netanyahu was scheduled to address the country at 10 a.m. but delayed the speech.

The Religious Zionism Party, which has seven Knesset members, issued a statement on Monday rejecting any pause in the reform initiative, describing such a move as a “surrender” to the “violent” demonstrations taking place across the country.

“After much consideration and consultations, our position is that we must not do anything to stop the passage of the legislation. Stopping the legislation would constitute a surrender to violence and anarchy, to the refusal to serve in the army and to the dictatorship of the minority—and would undermine the results of the [November] election,” said the statement.

“We were and still are open to dialogue, compromise and agreement, but not under the threat of a coup by the centers of power against Israeli democracy,” it added.

In response, Economy Minister Nir Barkat of the Likud Party called on coalition parties to back Netanyahu.

“We must not bring about the overthrow of the right-wing government at our own hands. Our strength is in our unity,” he said.

Elsewhere in Israel, flights from Ben Gurion airport have been halted as the head of Israel's largest trade union called a general strike.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive