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Israel punishes reserve navy generals for not showing up for volunteer duty

Reservist refusals to serve in protest of judicial reform has become an area of public concern over last few months

Rear Adm. (res.) Ofer Doron speaks during a protest against the Israeli government's judicial overhaul, at Goma Junction, northern Israel, Aug. 12, 2023. (Photo: Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Israel Defense Forces publicly announced the discipline of two reserve Navy brigadier generals over their refusal to serve in protest of the judicial reform legislation.

The move is highly unusual as the two high-level officers are past the age of mandatory reserve duty and had been serving only in a volunteer capacity.

Until now, the IDF has not publicly penalized officers over their refusal to serve.

The two brigadier generals are only one rank below Navy Commander Vice-Admiral David Saar Salama.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced the suspension of Brig. -Gen. Ofer Doron and said the status of the other officer, Brig.-Gen. Eyal Segev would be examined.

“The two reservists ranked rear admiral, who serve as combat directors at the naval headquarters, proclaimed that they do not wish to carry out reserve duty due to the legislation process. One of their services was suspended after a meeting with the Commander of the Navy and according to the orders,” Hagari said.

“In the coming days, a meeting will be held with the second reservist, during which his future reserve service will be discussed,” the IDF statement added.

The suspension was approved by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi.

Over the past few weeks, several top IDF commanders have warned that protests by reservists, especially refusal to serve, are negatively impacting the readiness of the Israeli military.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other coalition leaders have criticized such statements.

Netanyahu postponed a vacation to the north with his wife Sara on Sunday to meet with Halevi to discuss IDF fitness and readiness, among other concerns.

On Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with a group of Israel Air Force pilots who told him they also had concerns regarding the judicial reforms.

Many reserve officers volunteer in training or educational roles past their mandatory reserve exemption age of 45. Such leaders are considered valuable due to their experience and knowledge of military systems.

No official report has been made regarding the exact number of reservists who have refused service over the judicial reforms.

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

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