July 16 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Almost 4,000 Israeli Army reservists have threatened in recent weeks to refuse their volunteer work in protest against the judicial reform initiative promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right partners in the government, which critics denounce as an attack to the separation of powers by granting unusual powers to the Executive over the courts.
A list compiled by Channel 12 of Israeli television indicates that the signatories include, for example, at least 200 pilots, more than 350 intelligence reservists, 600 from the Paratroop Reconnaissance Brigade or 170 members of the elite forces. Israelis, the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (the Sayeret Matkal).
All the signatories have rejected the notices from the Army in the event of a possible disciplinary offense in the event that they decide to really be absent from volunteering. To contain spirits, however, the Israeli military leadership has assured that it will not take action against those reservists who limit themselves to threatening in writing their intentions.
In late March, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant publicly warned that the dispute over the review was causing divisions in the Army that posed a tangible threat to Israeli security. In response to that warning, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered Gallant’s dismissal, a move intensifying weekly protests against judicial reform, which in turn led Netanyahu to temporarily suspend the legislation for three months and withdraw Gallant’s dismissal.
Netanyahu last week launched a harsh public criticism of the country’s attorney general, Gali Baharav-Miara, whom he has accused of standing idly by in the face of protests by the population, and specifically those carried out by the reservists. The prosecutor has been the target of the prime minister and his far-right partners for months due to their staunch criticism of the reform.
Meanwhile, plans to advance reform continue: a legislative committee chaired by a Netanyahu ally approved a bill two weeks ago that would prevent Israel’s courts from examining the “sensibleness” of decisions made by elected officials. The Israeli Parliament approved this decision this week in first reading.
This same “sensible standard” was used by the Supreme Court earlier this year to overturn the appointment of a Netanyahu ally, Aryeh Deri, as interior minister due to a prior bribery conviction and 2021 plea deal for tax evasion.