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Israel suspends senior navy reservist protesting against judicial overhaul

August 18, 2023 at 2:51 pm

An aerial view shows Israeli protesters gather to march ‘for judicial independence’ at Kaplan street, after the coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu passed the controversial ‘judicial reform’ law in parliament in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 12, 2023 [Yair Palti – Anadolu Agency]

The Israel army has suspended a senior reservist who refused to show up for service in protest of the coalition government’s judicial overhaul.

The decision to suspend Ofer Doron’s service came following discussions between Navy head David Salama and various high-ranking officers, who also announced recently that they are no longer going to volunteer in forces.

Over 10,000 reservists who regularly report for duty voluntarily declared their intention to stop doing so.

Numerous reservists say they do not want to serve in an “undemocratic” Israel, a potential outcome they associate with the government’s proposed changes.

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In a letter addressed to the Israeli Navy chief, Doron wrote: “I’ve been serving in the navy for 44 years, half in the regular army and half in the reserves, in a variety of challenging command posts at sea, at headquarters and at operational headquarters.”

“Since my demobilisation, I have voluntarily served 20 to 50 days a year, the vast majority of them at night or on Shabbat. My uniform was always ready to be donned immediately; during times of tension, so was my car in case there was a call-up – and there were more than a few.”

He added, however, that “my values don’t allow me to serve in the army of a dictatorship; moral and ethical deterioration is inevitable. My values don’t allow me to stand on the side-lines in the hope that ‘it will all work out.’ The Jewish people have already paid unbearably heavy prices for only belatedly identifying dangers, from within and from without.”

Salama’s decision to suspend Doron was approved by Chief of Staff General Herzi Halevi, the military said.

The Israeli military is worried that its preparedness for battle could be harmed if more protesting reservists follow through with their promises.

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