‘We have full confidence in the commanders and will continue to serve the Jewish and democratic State of Israel as long as it is necessary’
Israeli reservist fighter pilots of the Air Force’s 69th squadron on Wednesday agreed to report to their unit for training and hold discussions with commanders after they refused to do so in protest of the government’s proposed judicial overhaul.
Days prior, 37 reserve soldiers out of the 40 members of the elite Air Force unit announced they would be absent from a scheduled training this week, as part of a protest against the controversial packet of reforms to Israel’s judicial system.
The legislation would give the government more power to select High Court judges and would deny the court the right to strike down any amendments to so-called Basic Laws, Israel’s quasi-constitution.
“We are responding to the call of our commanders and will report to the unit tomorrow to hold discussions among the fighters,” the pilots said in a statement. “We have full confidence in the commanders and will continue to serve the Jewish and democratic State of Israel as long as it is necessary.”
On Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Army Chief of Staff Major General Herzi Halevi, and Chief Reserve Officer Benni Ben Ari met with the reserve officers representing the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Intelligence branches. During the discussion, the Israeli officials spoke about their concerns regarding the recent protest movements among reserve forces.
“It was important for me to hear from you, I am a representative of the [Israeli army] in the government and the representative of the government in the [army],” said Gallant at the conclusion of the meeting.
“The word insubordination should remain out of the conversation,” he continued. “Insubordination is gnawing at the most basic foundation of the state’s existence – security – and we cannot allow that. A protest against the government does not permit action against the state.”