Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah were scheduled to travel to Moshav Ramot in the Golan Heights on Sunday as part of their vacation. However, Netanyahu delayed the trip to meet with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.
Halevi and Netanyahu last met in July following the approval vote for the Reasonableness Standard Law.
Netanyahu was due to meet with Halevi several times during the intervening period, but those meetings were postponed several times.
According to Walla News, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also attended the meeting. In a statement following the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office said the defense minister, the chief of staff and the IDF generals presented him with a picture of the situation regarding the IDF's competence and cohesion and noted the actions being carried out on the ground.
Earlier this morning, a report in Israeli news site N12, stated that Halevi, along with the heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet security agency, was planning to release a public statement about the military’s readiness and competence as a result of the ongoing judicial reform protests.
However, soon after the publication of that story, all three heads released statements denying the report.
Some Israeli media suggested that the delay in Netanyahu’s visit to Moshav Ramot was due to the release of the report. The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement saying the meeting had been scheduled beforehand, downplaying a connection to the earlier report.
The prime minister and his wife have encountered protests during their vacation. Protesters gathered at Neve Ativ, where the two were staying over the weekend, while another group of protesters had already arrived at Moshav Ramot.
Some residents of the moshav (a settlement within Israeli territory) sent a letter to the Shin Bet, the Israel Police and the Prime Minister’s Office announcing their opposition to the visit.
On Sunday morning, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with new IDF recruits, telling them he is working to maintain the IDF’s cohesion.
“I am not ignoring the problem, together with the chief of staff and the general staff, I am working every day to find a way to connect everyone and maintain competence and cohesion,” Gallant told the recruits.
Last Friday, Israel Air Force commander, Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar told a group of protesting pilots that the conflict over the reforms has affected the Israel Air Force.
He also told the pilots that he expects them to continue to serve in spite of their reservations.
“We have a security responsibility on our shoulders, aside from the difficulty some of you have, we expect you to keep coming,” he told the pilots. “The essence of my job is to stand guard and keep the corps clean and pure. Trust in the squadron commander and the air force commander - is critical.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.