Hundreds of reservists from elite IDF units refuse to show up for duty, in protest of judicial reform

“The difference between serving in Putin’s army and serving in the IDF is going to be erased,” reservist protest leader says, adding that they would not return to duty “until this attempted coup is over.”

By World Israel News Staff

Some 650 IDF reservists from elite cyberwarfare and special operations units refused to show up for regularly scheduled reserve duty on Sunday, following through on a threat they made last week in protest of proposed changes to Israel’s judicial system.

“We are stopping volunteering for reserve duty from today, and we will be happy to return to volunteer when democracy is safe,” a leader of the protest group, identified only by the initial A., told Kan radio.

“The difference between serving in Putin’s army and serving in the IDF is going to be erased,” A. said, adding that the reservists would not return to duty “until this attempted coup is over.”

In a media statement last week, the reservists said that “we will not serve a dictatorship. The contract was broken. We are ready to give our life and soul, and the government should give responsibility and sanity.”

In a letter sent to Hebrew language media outlets, an additional 300 reservists from the Israeli Air Force, including drone operators, air traffic control controllers, and aircrews, announced that they would refuse to attend training this week.

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Instead, the reservists would be focusing their energy on the “fight for democracy,” they wrote.

Senior military officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Herzi HaLevi, have expressed concern about the potential national security consequences of reservists refusing to show up for duty.

“The IDF will not be able to act without the spirit of volunteering of the reservists and their willingness [to serve], which depends on the preservation of the IDF as the people’s army in a democratic Jewish state,” HaLevi said in a speech last week.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who has supported mass protests that have paralyzed the country, repeatedly framed the potential reforms to Israel’s judicial system as a life-or-death struggle and said that Israel is teetering on the edge of a dictatorship, said he was opposed to the reservists’ decision not to report for duty.

“I am against refusal. I don’t think it’s the way. I understand the pain, the sorrow, the dread, and the fury. I think it’s a mistake,” Lapid said.

“We have one army, and there must not be refusal.”