Defense Minister Gallant: Reservists’ refusal to serve is ‘rewarding the enemy’

“We have no other army to rely on and we have to take care to keep it united and leave it out of any dispute,” he said.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday warned that a call for army reservists to boycott their duties due to proposed changes in the judiciary represented a “danger” and a boon to Israel’s enemies.

Speaking at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Gallant singled out “unity” as being the key to the IDF’s success. The minister expressed concern over the recent proliferation of appeals that “encourage refusal and halt the volunteering of reservists,” saying they threatened to destroy the unity.

“Calls that are encouraging refusal and halting the volunteering of reservists threaten the unity of the ranks, are dangerous, and are a reward for our enemy.

“I call on public figures from the right and the left, leave politics out of the army,” Gallant said according to a translation of his remarks by The Times of Israel. Refusal “harms the IDF, the defense establishment, and Israel’s security,” he said.

“We have no other army to rely on and we have to take care to keep it united and leave it out of any dispute,” he added.

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Recent months have seen reservists – essential contributors to the IDF’s everyday operations – express their reluctance to serve in what they claim could become an “undemocratic Israel” if the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary come to fruition.

Gallant in March denounced a similar decision by reserve fighter pilots to boycott mandatory training exercises.

“We face heavy and complex external challenges, and any call to refuse orders harms the functioning of the Israel Defense Forces and its ability to carry out its tasks,” he said at the time.

Despite the military’s stated intention to penalize or even dismiss soldiers refusing to show up for duty, there have been no measures implemented thus far.

Coalition members have declared the refusal threats comparable to draft refusal, which is illegal in Israel and often results in a prison sentence.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi stated on Sunday that reservists “don’t have the right” to refuse to show up for duty.