Fighter pilots in a top squadron of the Israeli Air Force have decided to skip training in an unprecedented act of defiance of the ruling party.
The majority of the 69th Squadron’s 40 reserve pilots have declined to participate in a one-day training exercise this week.
Some of Israel’s most significant reservists in terms of strategy view it as an unmatched political maneuver.
The efforts to reform the legal system by the ruling nationalist alliance are also being met with mounting hostility.
The squadron was “signaling that we won’t be prepared to serve a tyrannical administration,” one unnamed pilot told the Ynet news website.
After media rumors that its pilots had refused to fly the couple as part of the demonstrations, the national airline El Al confirmed it had found a crew to transport Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife to Italy for a scheduled state visit this week.
Furthermore, ten former Israeli Air Force chiefs wrote an open letter urging Mr. Netanyahu to “stop and find a solution” to the crisis in light of the amount of outrage among pilots and aircrews, indicating rising worry within Israel’s military elite.
The letter stated, “We are concerned about the results of these processes and the grave and real danger presented to the national security of the State of Israel.
It comes after reservists from the elite 8200 intelligence unit declared last week that they would not be present for certain portions of their reserve service.
Israel’s reservists are an important part of its armed forces, frequently serving on the front lines and, in the case of the air force, frequently taking part in combat operations.
In response, Mr. Netanyahu tweeted a black-and-white image of his 1967 conscription-era military identification over the weekend.
Eliminate this tweet from Benjamin Netanyahu:
The content of external websites is not the responsibility of the BBC.
the conclusion of Benjamin Netanyahu’s tweet –
1 pixel clear line
“We always show up for reserve duty when it is called. We are one country “He composed.
Yoav Gallant, the Israeli defense minister, also urged reserve members to report for service.
“Every call for rejection damages the IDF’s operation and its capacity to perform its duties,” he declared.
Since Mr. Netanyahu came to power at the end of last year, heading the most right-wing, nationalist coalition in Israeli history and vowing sweeping reforms to the country’s legal system, anti-government demonstrations have increased.
They include new laws that will completely hand over control of judicial nominations to the government and ultimately deprive the Supreme Court of its vital ability to overturn laws.
While opposition leaders label the plans as an effort at a “regime coup” by the prime minister and his coalition, the majority of legal scholars claim that the reforms will essentially damage the independence of the judiciary.
Opponents assert that the legal revisions could help prevent Mr. Netanyahu from being convicted of corruption allegations, which he rejects and for which he is now on trial.
With an estimated 150,000 people in Tel Aviv’s streets and tens of thousands more protesting elsewhere on Saturday, the ideas have precipitated some of the largest anti-government protests in Israel’s history.
Security personnel used water cannons and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators last week after Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right National Security Minister, threatened to take action against “anarchists” who obstructed roadways.
According to Mr. Netanyahu, the reforms were approved by the Israeli public at the most recent election and are intended to prevent the courts from abusing their authority.
The pilot reserve members allegedly worry that the actions of the new hardline government may subject them to punishment by the International Criminal Court without being able to make the case that an independent Israeli judiciary is ultimately in charge of looking into misbehavior by its forces.
But, human rights organizations and Palestinian leaders have long criticized Israel’s own investigations into the actions of its forces as a whitewash.
In Israel, reservists frequently threaten boycotts, but this time the scale and seniority of those involved are unprecedented.
The pilots’ protest is in addition to recent statements made by reservists in virtually every combat or intelligence unit threatening to leave their units if the government moves forward with the extremely contentious revisions.
According to reports, Lt Gen Herzi Halevi, the chief of staff of the army, has warned Mr. Netanyahu that the action could compromise the military’s operational capability.