(Photo Credit: IDF)
Elite reservists from the Israeli military intelligence’s special operations division and cyber warfare have announced that starting on 19 March, they would make good on a threat issued several weeks ago and halt their volunteer service in protest to the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary.
“The pistol is pressed firmly to the bedrock of democracy, and the trigger will soon be pulled,” the statement released on 16 March reads. “We don’t have a contract with a dictator. We’ll be happy to resume volunteering when democracy is ensured,” it adds.
Organizers of the group say it includes 450 reservists in special operations and 200 in cyber warfare.
Additionally, on Thursday, 100 senior reserve officers in an elite Air Force unit issued a statement saying they were “unsure” whether they could continue to serve under the current far-right government, saying their “conscience may not allow us to continue serving in the reserves.”
According to a senior reserve officer who spoke with Channel 12 news, army officers have been expressing their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans behind closed doors.
However, following the ruling coalition’s outright rejection of a compromise plan presented by President Isaac Herzog, the officers felt “forced” to go public.
Unrest has been growing across Israel in recent months after Netanyahu put in motion plans to overhaul the judicial system, with an aim to neutralize the high court of justice by robbing it of the power to strike down either the cabinet or the legislature’s decisions.
Another element of the reforms would give the 120-member Knesset the power to overrule the court’s decisions with a simple majority of 61 votes.
Netanyahu’s coalition holds a 64-seat majority in the Knesset.
Experts agree that the reforms can potentially enable the Knesset to annul corruption charges against Netanyahu. The Israeli premier is being sued for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
In the wake of the Israeli government’s recent decisions, there has been a drastic increase in Israelis seeking to obtain foreign passports. Several Israeli companies have also started to move their money abroad, amounting to billions of dollars.