Reserve rebels against Netanyahu: “Judicial reform is the biggest threat to Israel’s security”


“I served most years under right-wing governments, including in occupied territories. And I didn’t always agree with the mission. But I never thought about not achieving it. I had the feeling that there was a responsible government and I understood that what was compatible with me was declaring myself at the polls. That’s not what’s happening now.” Roy Gordon is one of more than 10,000 reservists in the Israeli army These days unleashed an unprecedented impulse for the government of Benjamin Netanyahu by announcing that they will stop wearing the uniform if Parliament on Monday approves a major judicial reform bill.

The rest of them gather a sense of urgency, of having to resort to drastic action to “protect Israeli democracy” from the advance of First big base fix, which would strip the Supreme Court of the power to overturn decisions of government, ministers or elected public officials that it deems manifestly unreasonable. The Knesset (parliament) began analyzing it on Sunday and the vote is expected to take place on Monday afternoon, after a debate that lasted about 30 hours.

On the other hand, he is separated by the fact that he announced it publicly and by his first and last names, as an activist in Ajim Leneshek (Brothers in Arms), an organization of military reservists against reform whose symbols have been seen for months on posters and T-shirts at mass demonstrations against the executive.

Among the thousands of Israelis who gathered on Sunday in front of the Knesset in a mixture of festive atmosphere and anxiety, groups of doctors, feminists and victims of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can be seen … A Jewish majority full of gaps (Amidst the ocean, secular religious, originating from Europe or the Arab world), what worries the government these days is not insurgency Social, but military.

Demonstration against judicial reform, this Sunday in Jerusalem.Ammar Awad (Reuters)

For this reason, the Chief of the General Staff, Herzi Halevy, admitted on Sunday, in an open letter, that the unity of the armed forces was “damaged” and that there were “serious cracks”. “If we do not have strong and unified armed forces, and if the best that Israel has is not to serve in the army, we will cease to exist as a state in the region,” he wrote. The newspaper’s correspondent for military affairs Israel HayomThe absentee figure is actually higher, Yoav Limor wrote this Sunday: “Many people didn’t sign the letters, they simply wouldn’t show up.” The government and the reservists also maintain a dialectical struggle: ministers say they “refuse to serve”. They’re the ones who’ve stopped volunteer“.

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Halevy struck a sympathetic tone, realizing that in theory, Israelis are required to serve a number of days a year on the reserve until the age of 39 or 45, but in practice this is voluntary work. We greatly value our reservists and they contribute greatly to Israel’s security. To everyone, even those who made difficult decisions with a heavy heart and signed with trembling hands that they will not report in the line of duty (…). Criticism of this decision must be expressed respectfully without forgetting all they have done for the country.”

The phrase apparently refers to attacks by members of the government in recent days. On Thursday, Netanyahu accused “military elements” of trying to “dictate government policy through threats.” Education Minister Yoav Kisch denounced the million-dollar campaign promoting something “exaggerated”. Economy Minister Nir Barkat described the rebels as “not worthy of wearing the uniform of the Israeli army”. The head of the government coalition, Ofir Katz, went further, playing on grievances and perceptions of who the elite are by asserting that “the vote of the doctor and the pilot is equal to that of the supermarket cashier and the factory worker”. Unnamed: Over 1,100 rebels belong to the Air Force, a prestigious body, key to military supremacy in the Middle East and necessary for an eventual surprise attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which Israel has been threatening for years.

“most important work”

The hand with which Gordon signed the collective declaration letter is, remember, the same hand with which he opened the border fence door as a soldier to enter Lebanon, in the last years of the occupation of the south of the country (1982-2000). “Everyone lives it in some way. But I felt that signing was the most important work of my service. Today, the biggest threat to Israel’s security is judicial reform. I’m not saying there aren’t others. But agitation And Hezbollah, for example, suppose the lowest level,” he points out.

Gordon declares that he is “aware of the importance” of his decision and the potential repercussions, but insists that reservists have “moved heaven and earth” since the reform was introduced in January to “avoid getting to that point,” even backing today’s failed presidential debate, despite criticism.

Isn’t that a problem The army interferes in political affairs? We do not enforce policies. It is a struggle for the essence of Israel as a democratic and liberal state.” In addition, he continues, he no longer feels “sure that decisions will be taken in a balanced way,” which “practically means that they give you missions that you cannot believe.” He recalls that the International Tribunal in The Hague can try Israeli soldiers for war crimes if it considers that Israel lacks an independent judicial system to do so. “It is something that is rarely talked about (…). Israel will not take responsibility for what its soldiers do.”

DZ, a colonel in the reserves who prefers to give only his initials, says he has thought a lot these months about what it means to defend Israel. He does this not only from external threats, but also from internal ones. Many of us feel that we must now protest and that this is the only weapon we can use (…). If you spend weeks away from your family and put your life in danger, I understand you have something to say about whether or not the government wants to change the situation. Make the courts irrelevant“.

The soldier confirms that he saw for himself in his unit the division resulting from the reform and how this affects daily life. You can feel how sensitive it is and how difficult it is to maintain loneliness. And if there’s one thing fundamental about the military, it’s just the ability to work as a team.”

He believes that if Israel finds itself immersed in “a war in which it is in danger, the people will take their stand,” but he believes that the immediate danger it faces today is “liberal and democratic Israel.” This is the war we must fight. Historically, dictatorships were formed when the military supported them or took a stand. We experiment on who we want to be,” he sums up.

Two traces of Netanyahu entering the hospital raise questions about his health

Benjamin Netanyahu, at the weekly cabinet meeting, on the 17th in Jerusalem.
Benjamin Netanyahu, at the weekly cabinet meeting, on the 17th in Jerusalem.Ohad Zwijnburg (Reuters)

A week ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 73, was briefly hospitalized for dehydration after spending several hours in the sun without a hat on the Sea of ​​Galilee, he explained in a reassuring video. “It wasn’t a good idea,” he joked.

He left with a Holter monitor from the medical center, Sheba, which he explained had not suffered from any arrhythmias. The information was coordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office and did not mention the report broadcast by TV Channel 12, which reported that he fainted and fell at his home in Caesarea, north of Tel Aviv.

This morning after A massive march to Jerusalem against his judicial reform Hours after the debate began in Parliament, he was accepted again, this time to install a pacemaker. Holter did beep This afternoon I have to get a pacemaker. It must be tonight. He said in another video in which he appeared standing and wearing a suit.

New treatment at the hospital has brought to light previously hidden details. For example, his doctors admitted that an arrhythmia was detected in him last week. Channel 12 was the first to reveal catheter insertion.

Netanyahu announced, in an early morning video, that this Sunday he will join the ongoing parliamentary debate on a major reform bill. However, in the afternoon he issued a statement identifying himself as “extraordinary” and indicating that he would go to the Knesset on Monday morning to vote. In addition, he canceled his trips to Türkiye and Cyprus, scheduled for this week.

Netanyahu has not published his annual medical examination since 2016. It is something that prime ministers must do, but they cannot be forced to do, because this protocol, since 2010, has not been turned into law.

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