IDF chief: Example set by army is ‘greatest opportunity’ to resolve national dispute

IDF chief: Example set by army is ‘greatest opportunity’ to resolve national dispute

Speaking to new conscripts, Halevi says military must show foes and friends that it will protect the state, ‘no matter what happens in Israeli society’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel’s military correspondent.

Military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Tuesday told newly conscripted soldiers that service in the Israel Defense Forces is “the greatest opportunity for the State of Israel” amid national tensions over the government’s controversial plans to overhaul the judicial system.

“Today there is a disagreement in Israeli society, a serious disagreement. The IDF is the greatest opportunity for the State of Israel in this dispute. Because we know how to be together,” IDF Chief of Staff Halevi told soldiers drafting to the Golani Infantry Brigade and Armored Corps.

“We know how to be different together, we know how to see one goal and we all aim for the same goal. To show our enemies, and our families and young siblings and young friends, that the IDF, no matter what happens in Israeli society… protects the country, is an example of cohesion, and that the State of Israel is strong together and knows how to withstand difficult challenges,” Halevi added.

For several weeks, as the government advanced the first major bill of its judicial overhaul, more than 10,000 reservists who frequently show up for duty on a voluntary basis said they would no longer do so. The reservists have warned they will not be able to serve in an undemocratic Israel, which some charge the country will become if the government’s overhaul plans are realized.

Unlike most reservists who are called up for duty with a formal order for several days a year, members of top units, especially pilots, are expected to train and carry out missions more frequently and in a voluntary manner due to the nature of their positions.

Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition
by email and never miss our top stories

By signing up, you agree to the terms

Halevi has appealed to the protesting reservists to show up for duty anyway, saying the refusal to serve harms national security.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks with new conscripts at the Tel Hashomer military induction center in Ramat Gan, August 8, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Defense officials have said volunteer reservist pilots could harm their competency by taking breaks from their frequent training exercises, and it would take a significant amount of time to restore their flying abilities.

Just as worrying for the military is the long-term damage to the unity of the IDF, with concern about the spread of anti-judicial overhaul protests to members of the standing army. The IDF also fears that some young Israelis may attempt to refuse to draft altogether in protest.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.