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IDF spokesperson says protests and refusal to serve has caused limited harm to military

Refusal to serve has affected Air Force the most, he says

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, Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

In an interview with Israel's N12 news, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari admitted there has been “limited damage” to military operations as a result of the judicial reform conflict.

“There is a readiness for war now, but there is limited damage to certain units,” Hagari said, adding, “in the air force it is more pronounced.”

According to Hagari, many reserve pilots function as flight trainers for new pilots just enlisting. Refusal to serve by some of those reserve trainers has affected the training ability of new pilots.

Hagari affirmed the flight school “is functioning, but as time goes on it is people with great expertise of knowledge who will harm the flight quality of new pilots.”

Last week, the Israel Air Force had to reduce flying time for one stage of its helicopter pilot course, due to the refusal to serve by almost half the volunteer reservist instructors.

The IDF holds ongoing talks with commanders and reservist volunteers, Hagari stated.

“Each of them has a different red line, they are all full of emotions, it's a turbulent time and it affects the IDF,” Hagari said.

Last Monday, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by Knesset Member Yuli Edelstein, held a classified political-security discussion with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF representatives.

The discussion focused on a regional briefing and the IDF's operational readiness.

During the classified portion of the meeting, Gallant said while harm to the IDF’s readiness is limited at present, refusals may harm its fitness in the long term if the political conflict continues.

Gallant also said that harm to the national resilience through a prolonged political crisis could lead to harm to national security.

In his interview with N12, IDF spokesperson Hagari also addressed coalition statements against Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs.

“These statements harm the IDF and should not have been made,” Hagari commented.

“There are now 20 battalions looking to Yehuda Fuchs,” Hagari noted.

He said such criticisms could undermine trust between operatives and their command structure. “When you decide to thwart and kill three terrorists, it's from a place of trust in the mission. It is inappropriate at such a complex time for Israeli society to create more division,” Hagari warned. 

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

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