Israeli military chief warns about revolt in army ranks over judicial reform


Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi

According to the army chief, an increasing number of reservists are calling to defect in protest of the reforms

The Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halevi said on Sunday evening he fears that the controversy over judicial reform will lead to more young Israelis refusing to enlist, compromising the effectiveness of the army.

These concerns were expressed by Halevi during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. According to the army chief, an increasing number of reservists are saying they will refuse to fulfill their voluntary reserve service in protest of the reforms.

Faced with this wind of revolt, Gallant urged the Prime Minister to start a dialogue between the opposition and the governing coalition on the judicial reform in order to appease protesters and reach a compromise. National Unity party leader and former defense minister Benny Gantz, who himself opposes the reform, has also expressed his alarm at the spirit of protest sweeping through the military, saying that weakening the army—and therefore the country—was not the right way to express opposition to the bill.

The statements came hours after 37 out of 40 reserve pilots of an elite Israel Air Force unit announced that they would not participate in some of the exercises scheduled this week in protest against the judicial overhaul.

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