David Barnea meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo Credit: GPO)
Mossad employees have been given the green light to participate in anti-Netanyahu protests, which have spread across Israel due to the anticipated judicial reform, according to an article published by Intelligence Online on 8 March.
The request by employees was approved by the head of the Intelligence agency, David Barnea, according to the reports.
“The unprecedented mobilization against the prime minister’s far-right coalition government has started to gain support in the Israeli intelligence services and is also fuelling resistance among the country’s reservists,” said Intelligence Online.
However, while Barnea approved the request for some 7,000 employees of Mossad to participate in the protests, around 300 high-ranking officials and senior staff were excluded from the agreement.
According to the reports, officers of the Shin Bet internal security agency, which answers directly to the office of the prime minister, also requested permission to participate in the protests.
However, the Mossad agents were given permission to participate in the protests only under the condition of not revealing their work affiliation to other protesters.
Meanwhile, the country’s air force chief reportedly dismissed a reservist fighter pilot over his calls to refuse to show up for training due to the planned judicial overhaul.
The report was published by The Times of Israel after 37 out of 40 reserve pilots from the IAF’s 69th Squadron announced the boycott of yesterday’s training exercise.
The IAF Squadron 69 is one of Israel’s top units and operates advanced F-15 Thunderbird aircraft, primarily serving as Tel Aviv’s long-range strategic arm. The IAF also depends on reservists during combat periods, typically requiring individuals discharged for frequent training to ensure combat readiness.
The squadron pilots informed their acting commander on 5 March that they would not participate in further training sessions or resume duty until Tel Aviv’s government halts its judicial reforms.
A few days prior, 700 Israeli activists called on the administration of US President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on Netanyahu under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, meant to target foreign officials for corruption and human rights abuses, specifically as a result of Netanyahu’s push for judicial reforms.
Several reports suggest that over 70,000 protesters were present during the demonstration on 13 February. The Israeli government’s judicial reform essentially grants Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition government more control over who gets appointed to the Supreme Court bench. Protests against the coalition government’s decision have been ongoing for weeks.