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Israel: hundreds of military reservists will not respond to call-up

March 20, 2023 at 12:38 pm

People gather to protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Saeed Qaq – Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of Israeli military reservists and members of elite military and intelligence units have declared that they will not respond to call-up orders and turn up for some duties as from yesterday, it has been reported. The move is part of the massive protests in the occupation state against the far-right government’s planned judicial overhaul.

The news about the reservists came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he will not tolerate more “violence and chaos”. Demonstrations against him have entered their eleventh week.

In a letter circulated to the Israeli media, it was revealed that at least 450 protesters describe themselves as volunteer reservists from military special forces, and another 200 as volunteer reservist cyberwarfare technicians. They include personnel from the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence agencies. After implying that Netanyahu is a “dictator”, they added, “We will be happy to volunteer when democracy is safeguarded.”

According to Reuters, members of the ruling coalition want legislation that will limit the authority of the Supreme Court to be in place by 2 April.

Demonstrations against the judicial overhaul in Israel have spiralled, the shekel has lost value and fears have been voiced by national security veterans who usually shy away from publicity.

Netanyahu has condemned the fact that the protests now affect the military. This is, he insisted, an attempt to subvert an institution meant to be above politics, said Reuters. Such misgivings have also been voiced by some opposition leaders, while others say that an authoritarian government throws the whole idea of national duty into question.

“When a country stands on the threshold of dictatorship, we are likely to see a breakdown of the security agencies,” former Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman told Channel 12 TV. “It is extraordinarily terrifying.”

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