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More Israel army reservists refuse military service in protest against judicial reforms

July 17, 2023 at 10:07 am

Police intervene the demonstrators as they gather at Ben Gurion Airport to protest against Knesset vote on judicial overhaul bill, in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 11, 2023. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Israeli army reservists yesterday announced that they will  refuse military service if the government’s judicial overhaul plans go ahead, local media reported.

Israeli TV Channel 12 reported that about 4,000 reservist soldiers in key positions signed letters saying they would refuse to show up for voluntary reserve duty should the judicial overhaul be approved.

Channel 12 also reported that at least 200 aircraft pilots and navigators, 90 headquarter staff, 50 air traffic control operators and 40 drone operators signed the letters.

In addition, 400 reservists of the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit handed their commander a letter saying they would not show up for voluntary reserve duty if the government moves ahead with the judicial overhaul.

“We all hope that the destructive legislation, as it is today, will stop,” Ynet news reported the reservist commandos writing in the letter.

Last week, some 420 members of Shayetet 13 naval commando unit penned a similar letter to Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Channel 12 also reported that at least 350 military doctors in reserves have so far said they were halting or threatening to halt their voluntary service due to the judicial overhaul.

In recent weeks, at least 950 members of the Military Intelligence’s Special Operations Division and members of various cyber warfare units have announced their intention to end their volunteer reserve duty over the judicial overhaul plans.

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