The project of the ultra-right governing coalition has been causing mass protests in Israel for weeks. According to Israeli media estimates, 200,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday.
The government's reform plans aim to limit the powers of the judiciary. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, says the reform is necessary to restore balance in the separation of powers. Critics, on the other hand, fear that the separation of powers will be abolished and that democracy will be undermined. Israel's most important allies, including the United States, have also criticized the reform plans.
A continuing division of the population on this issue could become a "real threat to Israel's security," Galant said in his televised speech on Saturday. Whoever wins this tug-of-war, "on the street or in the Knesset," the State of Israel will be the "loser."
He is "committed to the values of Likud" and puts "the state of Israel above everything, but major changes at the national level must be made with caution and through dialogue," emphasized Galant, who was previously considered a close confidante of Netanyahu. After his dismissal, the previous minister wrote on Twitter on Sunday: "The security of the State of Israel has been and always will be the mission of my life."
Parliament is due to vote next week on a key element of the reform, which will change the way judges are appointed. On Saturday, two Likud MPs backed Galant's proposal to pause the legislative process, raising questions about whether the ruling parties can expect a majority in a vote.
Opposition leader Jair Lapid also endorsed Galant's statements. After his dismissal, he wrote on Twitter on Sunday that Netanyahu could fire the minister, "but he cannot fire reality and he cannot fire the Israeli people who oppose the madness of the coalition." Lapid described the prime minister as "a threat to Israel's security."