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US chief of staff to visit Israel amid IDF combat readiness crisis 

August 17, 2023 at 10:16 am

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley holds a press conference in Pentagon Arlington-Virginia, United States on March 15, 2023 [Celal Güneş/Anadolu Agency]

The head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, will visit Israel next week to assess the impact to the Israel Defence Forces combat readiness following the refusal of some reservists to report for voluntary duties in protest against the government’s judicial overhaul plan, Israeli media reported on Wednesday. Senior Israeli military leaders, including Air Force Commander Major General Tomer Bar, have warned of a gradual degradation in the IDF’s combat readiness amid the protests. 

According to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, Milley will meet Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi to “closely examine” the situation. The impact of the reservists’ protest is felt especially within the air force, which could have negative operational implications for US forces that cooperate closely with Israel in the region, and may even compel Washington to deploy more troops.

The Walla website, meanwhile, indicated that senior officials in the US administration are following closely the growing tension between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior army officers. 

The website also quoted Israeli military sources as saying that the Pentagon is concerned that the IDF crisis could have negative implications for Israel’s deterrence strategy against Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas. 

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