Israeli Air force warns of worsening damage to readiness in split over judicial overhaul

Israeli Air force warns of worsening damage to readiness in split over judicial overhaul

Israeli Air Force chief urges reservists to maintain volunteer duty despite protests over judicial overhaul, expresses concern over force readiness

By Alperen Aktas

ISTANBUL (AA) – The Israeli Air Force chief on Friday warned that reservist pilots protesting controversial plans to overhaul the judiciary are hurting the force’s readiness.

Speaking to dozens of reservist pilots who say they will not show up for volunteer duty to protest the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar told them the readiness of the force is “worsening,” The Times of Israel daily reported.

The calls to not show up for volunteer duty “harm” the Israeli army, Bar said in Tel Aviv, telling the pilots “we expect you to keep coming.”

Over 10,000 reservists who regularly report for duty voluntarily declared their intention to stop doing so.

Numerous reservists say they do not want to serve in an “undemocratic” Israel, a potential outcome they associate with the government's proposed changes.

The organizers of a letter from nearly 1,200 Air Force reservists who said they want to stop their volunteer service said that about 60% of them had told their commanders they will no longer show up for duty. This was after the first overhaul bill was passed.

The Israeli military is worried that its preparedness for battle could be harmed if more protesting reservists follow through with their promises.

Due to these concerns, higher-ranking officers have been consistently urging the protesting reservists to come for volunteer duty.

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