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Israel reservists warn of mass refusal to serve over judicial overhaul

March 22, 2023 at 10:47 am

Israeli Forces [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

A large group of reserve Israeli soldiers and officers yesterday warned that they will not turn up for duty if called upon as a result of government plans to overhaul the judiciary, local media reported.

The group, known as Brothers in Arms, said they would ask thousands of reservists to sign adeclaration of refusal to serve, stating that they would take action based on this declaration if the judicial overhaul is implemented.

“We have been protesting in the streets for 11 weeks,” reservist Lieutenant Colonel Ron Scherf, one of the founders of Brothers in Arms, said in a press conference. “An executive branch with unlimited power is a dictatorship. We are afraid of it.”

“If the laws of the dictatorship are enacted, a people’s army cannot exist. A people’s army only exists in a democracy.”

He warned that if the bills become law, “tens of thousands more with us will stop volunteering for reserve duty.”

Scherf stressed: “The army is falling apart before your eyes. So far we have stopped our people from taking this step, but the government is fast approaching a red line. Anyone who sees us should understand that we are doing this out of responsibility and great love for Israeli society and the country we love so much.”

Earlier yesterday, top-ranking commanders expressed concern that a growing trend of reservists who are refusing to serve could impair the armed forces’ operational capabilities within a month.

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