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161 Israel Air Force officers refuse volunteer duty in protest of judicial overhaul

IDF chief: “Anyone who calls for not showing up harms the IDF and harms the security of the state”

Illustrative - Israeli air force pilots walk to their plane during the "Blue Flag," an international aerial training exercise at the Ovda Air Force base in southern Israel, October 24, 2021. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Some 161 Israel Air Force officers informed the public on Tuesday that they were immediately ending their reserve service in an act of opposition to the Netanyahu government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan.

"We are a group of reservists who are at the forefront of thinking, planning, and control of Air Force operations in times of calm and combat for decades," stated the letter written the group of senior Israeli Air Force reservists, consisting of individuals with senior and crucial positions within the IAF.

"We serve at the Air Force headquarters and outside it, among us are aircrew members, controllers, drone operators, intelligence officers, and other positions," they wrote.

The Israeli military has traditionally filled the role of uniting the diverse populations within Israeli society. For that reason, politics is usually kept outside the realm of the army. However, protests against the government’s legal reforms plan have increasingly involved Israel Defense Forces.

The IAF reservists stressed that they would not serve "under a regime in which the foundations of democracy are trampled one after the other," and warned that Israel risked being transformed "from a democracy into a dictatorship."

There are growing concerns that service boycotts within the army could potentially undermine the Jewish state’s capability to defend itself against Iran and its terrorist proxies.

IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi recently warned that the Jewish nation's security is harmed by reservist boycotts.

“Anyone who calls for not showing up harms the IDF and harms the security of the state,” Halevi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

“The current security challenges require us to be highly prepared in terms of competence and cohesion, even when there is tension between them,” he added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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