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10 former IAF commanders urge Netanyahu to find solution amid judiciary controversy

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks with Amir Eshel, then-commander of the Israel Air Force, Aug. 17, 2016. (Photo: Flash90)

Ten former Israeli Air Force commanders expressed their concerns over the ongoing judiciary crisis in a joint letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The signatories of the letter included 102-year-old Gen. Dan Tolkowsky, who led the IAF in the 1950s, and Gen. (res.) Amikam Norkin, who headed the IAF up until last year. 

“We are following with deep concern the processes taking place in the State of Israel and in the Air Force these days,” stated the commanders’ letter. 

“From a deep familiarity with the central and special weight of the [Air] Force in national security, which you are well aware of, we are fearful over the consequences of these processes and the serious and tangible danger posed to the national security of the State of Israel,” warned the former chiefs. 

Some 37 out of 40 reserve pilots in the elite 69th Squadron recently announced that they would boycott a scheduled training session to protest the Netanyahu government’s ongoing legal reform plans. 

The former air force commanders stressed that a sense of righteousness plays a central role in the strength of the Israeli Air Force. 

“The core of the [Air] Force’s strength is the special cohesion of its servicepeople, standing and reserves. The corps members are all motivated by a deep sense of mission and belief in the righteousness of our way,” they stated.

The letter urged Netanyahu's government to find a compromise solution to the country’s ongoing crisis over the legal reforms. 

“We support the commander of the Air Force and his people at this difficult time and appeal to you to stop and find a solution to the emerging situation as soon as possible,” the letter said. 

Israeli military personnel fear that a weakening of the country’s judiciary could leave them more exposed to international probes for alleged war crimes. 

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

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