Anti-judicial reform pilots face deadline for dismissal: Report

In July, some 10,000 air force reservists, including 400 pilots, announced their intention to cease training as an act of protest over judicial reform legislation.

By World Israel News Staff

Pilots who have suspended their participation in reserve duty and training sessions as an act of protest against the ongoing judicial reform legislation must commit to returning to their commitments by October 17th, or face permanent dismissal from their positions, according to reports in Hebrew-language media.

Channel 13 reported that the decision was made by Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, ahead of a scheduled joint drill with the U.S. Air Force that is slated to take place at the end of October.

The Israeli military said in a statement that Bar had instructed commanders to engage in “conversations” with reserve personnel who have not been participating in training sessions, “with the aim of mapping a picture of the preparedness of the [air] force, and to return the reserve servicemen to service.”

In July, some 10,000 air force reservists, including 400 pilots, announced that they would cease participating in reserve duty as part of a mass protest against measures aimed at overhauling Israel’s judicial system.

Israel’s top military brass have been careful not to publicly criticize reservists who have stated their intention to stop training due to their political views, instead encouraging unity and stressing the importance of their service.

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But some politicians have leveled harsh criticism at the reservists, calling their behavior akin to rebellion and sedition.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli said that reservists who condition their service upon agreeing with government policies are setting a negative precedent for Israeli democracy, in which elected lawmakers are beholden to the sentiments of the military.

“When [the government] becomes subject to the [whims of the] army, we will be Turkey or Egypt. I have no intention of putting up with this,” Chikli told Mako in July.

“If the Knesset does not enact one law or another because military personnel threaten not to serve, there is one definition for this – we become a junta on the same day.

“That’s a military dictatorship, a real dictatorship. We don’t have the luxury to submit to such threats.”