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IDF chief warns against reservists' refusing to serve, says it harms national security

Opposition leader Liberman calls on Halevi to resign, says ‘no other choice’

Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 18, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israel Defense Forces Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi addressed a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on Tuesday morning where he said that refusal by reservists to serve endangers national security.

“Anyone who calls for not showing up harms the IDF and harms the security of the state,” Halevi said in the meeting.

“Our goal these days is to combine competence and cohesion,” Halevi continued. “The current security challenges require us to be highly prepared in terms of competence and cohesion, even when there is tension between them.”

Halevi’s comments echoed his previous comments last week when he said the current security situation demands cohesion and commitment.

“In today's reality, we don't have the authority not to respond to every challenge and mission,” Halevi said at a change of command ceremony for the Southern Command.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that threats of refusal are “against democracy and against the law” during his cabinet meeting yesterday,

“The incitement to refusal and the refusal itself are against democracy and against the law. This is true for any democracy, but in our democracy, incitement and refusal directly endanger the security of all Israeli citizens."

"They harm the deterrence against our enemies who can easily be tempted into acts of aggression against us, and they undermine the discipline within the army, which is the basis of the army's existence in the first place,” Netanyahu stated.

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Avigdor Liberman suggested Halevi should resign if he is not able to uphold the military’s strength and competence during the protests.

Liberman made his comments on Tuesday morning at the National Economic Conference organized by Calcalist and Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv.

“The chief of staff’s role always was to provide security and maintain the IDF’s competence. In today’s circumstances, this is impossible. Therefore, the chief of staff must resign, he has no other choice,” Liberman said.

Liberman, who leads the Yisrael Beytenu party, said Halevi should take action because Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant “abandoned those reservists," claiming they were the ones who supported Gallant in April when he was nearly fired by Netanyahu after a public call to pause judicial reforms.

“The defense minister abandoned those reservists, thanks to whom he remained in office. I have no expectations of the defense minister, the chief of staff must take responsibility and say that under the conditions created, he cannot fulfill his duties," Liberman told conference attendees.

He called on all opposition lawmakers to boycott the final vote for the Reasonableness Standard Bill.

“My position is clear in the vote on the third reading: the opposition parties must boycott the vote, the very fact of participation legitimizes an illegitimate move.”

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

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