‘Blood on their hands’ – IDF reservists threaten mass refusal: PM, minister fight back against ‘junta’

“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,” Chikli said.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Following a discussion about the impact on the IDF’s operational readiness should reservists follow through on their threats to refuse to serve due to the ongoing judicial reform legislation, a prominent lawmaker called the phenomenon “criminal” and “despicable.”

As a bill aimed at reducing the Supreme Court’s ability to intervene on government decisions advances in the Knesset, reservists from various IDF units have said that they will no longer attend training sessions or turn up for duty.

One organization representing reservists told Hebrew-language medai that they would hold an event announcing hundreds of resignations in front of the Kirya military headquarters on Wednesday morning, if the reasonableness bill is signed into law.

Senior military officials held an emergency meeting on Sunday evening to attempt to determine the actual effect on the army if mass refusals occur, as the number of reservists who would actually participate is unclear.

The possibility that wide-scale refusals could damage the IDF’s readiness is unacceptable, Diaspora Minister Amichai Chikli (Likud) told Hebrew-language Mako News on Monday morning.

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“I have not seen anything more despicable than this campaign of refusal. The public relations offices that are pumping it up are committing a crime against the people of Israel,” Chikli said.

“A person who says, ‘I’m not ready to serve because I don’t like the government, or this law,’ has blood on his hands. A threat of refusal is a… disaster. Not everyone understands how serious this is,” he told Mako.

Chikli added that if the balance of power shifts and government decisions become dependent upon the goodwill of the military, Israel will have transitioned into a third-world country style of governance.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

At the weekly cabinet meeting on Monday morning – postponed from Sunday due to the premier’s brief hospital stay – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the reservists for acting against the law and endangering all Israeli citizens.

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Making the same points as Chikli, he said that “the military is subject to the elected government and not the opposite, whereas in a military regime, the government is subordinate to the military, or to be more precise, a group within the military. This is the fundamental difference between a democracy and a military regime. The incitement to refusal to serve and refusal to serve itself are contrary to democracy and contrary to law.”

He added that “it cannot be that there will be a group within the military that threatens the elected government: ‘If you do not do what we want, we will shut the switch on security’…No democratic country would accept such a diktat; such a diktat is the end of democracy.

“It is precisely those who brandish the flag of democracy who need to be the first to come out against this phenomenon. I reiterate: Refusal to serve endangers the security of every citizen of Israel. The Government will not accept refusal to serve. The Government will take action against it and take all necessary steps to ensure our security and our future.”