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Israeli Prime Minister reiterates dismissal of Defense Minister amid mounting concerns

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has changed his mind about firing Defense Minister Yoav Gallant amid the escalating security crisis, according to a statement he made Monday.

Netanyahu said the two resolved their disagreement over Gallant’s public call last month to halt the government’s deeply divisive judicial reform plan, which Gallant said had become a threat to Israel’s security.

Netanyahu announced last week that he would delay the impeachment.

“I have decided to leave our differences behind,” Netanyahu said at a press conference on Monday. He said the two have worked closely together for the past two weeks.

An Italian tourist was killed and five people were injured in a run-over accident in Tel Aviv on Friday, hours after two Israeli sisters and their mother were killed in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank.

The attacks, after a night of cross-border strikes in Gaza and Lebanon, added to escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in the wake of violent Israeli police raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem this week.

Tensions threatened to widen when Israel responded to a barrage of rockets by striking targets linked to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Gaza and southern Lebanon, but the fighting entered a lull on Friday.

An opinion poll on Sunday, from Israel’s Channel 13, showed that Netanyahu’s Likud party would lose more than a third of its seats if elections were held now, and that Netanyahu would fail to secure a majority with his right-wing coalition partners.

“I am not disturbed by the poll,” Netanyahu told reporters.

The prime minister said that relations with the United States, which appeared tense due to the judicial reform planned by the government, remained “solid” and the two countries enjoy security and intelligence cooperation.

The Netanyahu government has held up legislation on sweeping reform to allow for compromise discussions with opposition parties after weeks of nationwide protests.

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