More than 60 reserve officers from an elite Israeli army intelligence programme have announced plans to suspend their volunteer service in protest at the government’s judicial overhaul, Wallah news website reported on Monday.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the officers are from the Havatzalot programme, which trains intelligence officers for key roles in the Israeli army’s Intelligence Directorate. The officers complete a dual-major in three years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The move follows remarks by Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant who told members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee in a closed-door meeting that the refusal by reservists to serve meant “there is a possibility of harm to the country’s readiness over the long term.”
However, he said that the damage done by the reservists’ protests is “relatively limited,” but stressed that the country is nevertheless in a situation “where it can explode on all fronts.” There has been “damage to national resilience due to deep division and this could turn into an attack on the security of the country,” Gallant added.
Thousands of reservists from different units of the Israeli army, including hundreds of reserve air force pilots, have threatened to suspend their voluntary service over the judicial reforms.