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IDF chief Halevi warns division over judicial overhaul undermines army and threatens Israeli security

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on July 18, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi issued a warning on Sunday that the current judicial overhaul controversy is “dangerously” harming the army’s unity and thereby threatens Israel’s national security and ultimately the very existence of the Jewish state.

“If ours is not a strong and unified army, and if the best do not serve in the IDF, we will not be able to continue to exist as a state in the region,” Halevi warned.

The Israeli army has played a unique unifying role in Israel's diverse society for over seven decades. While politics is traditionally kept outside the realm of the Israel Defense Forces, the army chief lamented that the military has been adversely affected by the ongoing judicial reform controversy.

“We have acted to keep [the IDF] out of the debate but due to its intensity in Israeli society, we were pulled into it, and the cohesion [of the military] has been harmed,” Halevi said. “It is our duty to prevent these cracks from widening,” he added.

Halevi urged all reservists to return to military duty.

More than 10.000 IDF reservists affiliated with the Brothers-in-Arms protest group recently announced they would stop volunteering for service if the Knesset passes the Reasonableness Standard Bill.

“This is one of the most difficult evenings in the history of the country, but also the most important. We have about 10,000 fighters behind us who are saying tonight to the Israeli government - it stops here,” warned Eyal Naveh, one of the protest group leaders.

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

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