More Israeli reservists resign in protest against gov't's judicial reform

More Israeli reservists resign in protest against gov't's judicial reform

‘If we do not have a strong and unified army…we will not be able to exist as a country in this region anymore,’ says Israeli army’s chief of staff

By Zein Khalil Cagri Kosak

ISTANBUL (AA) – Another 120 reservists informed the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday that they will not show up for duty in protest against the government’s judicial reform plan, bringing the total to 830.

An unnamed military spokesman pointed out on Israeli Army Radio that their refusal to serve posed a threat to the effectiveness of the military.

According to a report by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN), the number of reservists who have taken such a step include more than 260 pilots.

In an open letter shared yesterday, the Israeli army’s Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, addressed those who voluntarily resigned from reserve military service to protest the controversial judicial reform.

“If we do not have a strong and unified army, if the best do not serve, we will not be able to exist as a country in this region anymore," Halevi said.

- Controversial judicial reform

On Jan. 5, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced the judicial reform, which included changes such as limiting the Supreme Court's powers and giving the government a say in judicial appointments.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on March 27 that he was postponing the reform, which had led to increasing mass protests and strikes nationwide, but he also said they would put it back on the agenda after the approval of the 2023-2024 budget in late May.

Following a stalemate in negotiations with the opposition, the government has recently restarted the process of the reform.

As part of the judicial reform, the government announced that a bill to abolish the Supreme Court's oversight of the government would be brought to the Knesset (parliament) for a second and third vote on July 24.

Thousands of Israelis including war pilots, submarine officers and other elite units who opposed the reform decided to resign from voluntary reserve service.

Israeli media reported that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was working to postpone the bill to abolish the Supreme Court's oversight of the government in response to the reactions from reserve soldiers.

Numerous prominent figures in Israeli politics, the military, security, economy and the judiciary have publicly expressed their opposition to the reform plans.

The protest movement against the Netanyahu government's judicial reform agenda has been staging demonstrations for about seven months.

*Writing by Esra Tekin in Istanbul




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