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Military protests against judicial reforms threaten Israel's security, say officials

July 22, 2023 at 10:31 am

Minister of Defence of Israel, Yoav Gallant on May 4, 2023 [MENELAOS MYRILLAS/SOOC/AFP via Getty Images]

Following a letter penned to the Knesset by 1,142 Israeli Air Force reservists declaring suspension of their military service, Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant confirmed that he is trying to delay the reform, Israeli media reported on Friday.

Spokesperson of the Israeli Army Daniel Hagari said the military was checking the details of the letter and “will examine the implications.”

He warned that “failing to report to reserve duty hurts the IDF and state security,” adding: “Over the past days, it is evident that cohesion has been damaged, which will take a long time to repair.”

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The reservists wrote in their letter: “Legislation that allows the government to act in an extremely unreasonable manner will harm the security of the State of Israel, will cause a loss of trust and violate my consent to continue risking my life – and will lead, with deep sorrow and no choice, to a suspension of my volunteer reserve duty.”

Meanwhile, Gallant, Channel 12 reported, is trying to work within the political system to try and defuse the crisis that deepened when more than 1,140 reservists, including over 400 pilots, announced they would suspend their volunteer reserve duty.

Gallant stated that he was: “Working in all ways to bring about a broad consensus, prevent damage to Israel’s security and keep the IDF out of the political dispute.”

However, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right partners, added: “Even if we wanted to leave the legislation and stop, we simply cannot.”

Smotrich continued: “A country that gives in to threats of generals will actually be a country ruled by a military junta, which is the farthest thing from democracy.”

READ: Israel Air Force reservists threaten to stop volunteering over judicial overhaul