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Analysis

Military reservists' protest of judicial overhaul hurting Israel's deterrence

IDF reservist doctors, pilots and soldiers are warning they will not show up for duty if the government goes ahead with its controversial judicial reforms.
 Israelis take part in ongoing protests against controversial legal reforms being touted by the country's hard-right government, in Tel Aviv on February 25, 2023.  (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 6,000 reserve soldiers had signed a petition by Monday evening saying they won’t show up for duty in protest against the government’s judicial overhaul plan. Also on Monday, some 200 reservist military doctors sent a letter to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying they won’t show up for duty if the government doesn’t halt the judicial reform. Last week, 37 of the 40 pilots comprising the reserve force of the strategic 69th air squadron announced that they would not show up for their regular weekly training day on March 8. The “Hammer” squadron, as it is known, consists of F-15I fighter jets capable of reaching Iran. 

The widening fissures in Israeli society stemming from the government’s judicial overhaul blitz and signs of insubordination among fighters and officers in most combat and elite units of the Israel Defense Forces are already affecting Israel’s deterrence capacity. IDF chief Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi seems far more concerned by these troubling signs emerging in recent weeks than he is by the immediate threats to Israel’s security on several fronts.

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