Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

Israel's elite fighter pilots escalate judicial reform protest

Israel's elite fighter pilots escalate judicial reform protest

Fighter pilots in an elite Israeli Air Force squadron have vowed not to attend training, in an unprecedented protest against the government.

Nearly all of the 40 reservist pilots from 69th Squadron have refused to join a one-day training exercise this week.

It is seen as an unparalleled political move by some of Israel's most strategically important reservists.

It is also a sign of growing opposition to the ruling nationalist coalition's plans to overhaul the legal system.

One unnamed pilot told the Ynet news website that the squadron was "signalling that we won't be prepared to serve a dictatorial regime".

Meanwhile, the national airline El Al said it had found a crew to fly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife to Italy for a planned state visit this week, following media reports its pilots had refused to fly the couple as part of the protests.

And in a further sign of growing concern among Israel's military leadership, 10 former Israeli Air Force chiefs published an open letter calling on Mr Netanyahu to "stop and find a solution" to the crisis, given the level of protest among pilots and aircrews.

"We are fearful over the consequences of these processes and the serious and tangible danger posed to the national security of the State of Israel," the letter said.

It follows an announcement last week by reservists in the elite 8200 intelligence unit, who also said they would not turn up for aspects of their reserve duty.

Israel's reservists are a key component of its military forces, often carrying out frontline roles, and in the case of the air force, regularly involved in active combat operations.

Over the weekend Mr Netanyahu responded, tweeting a black-and-white picture of his military ID from when was conscripted in 1967.

"When we're called for reserve duty, we always turn up. We are one nation," he wrote.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant also called for reservists to turn up for duty.

"Any call for refusal harms the functioning of the IDF and its ability to carry out its tasks," he said.

Anti-government protests have continued to grow since Mr Netanyahu returned to power at the end of last year, leading the most right-wing, nationalist coalition in Israel's history and promising radical changes to Israel's legal system.

They include new laws which would give the government full control over nominating judges and would ultimately strip the Supreme Court of crucial powers to strike down legislation.

Most legal scholars say the reforms would effectively destroy the independence of the judiciary, while opposition figures describe the proposals as an attempted "regime coup" by the prime minister and his coalition.

Mr Netanyahu is also on trial for corruption charges, which he denies, and opponents claim the legal reforms could help shield him from conviction.

The proposals have sparked some of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Israel's history, with an estimated 150,000 people on the streets of Tel Aviv and tens of thousands more in protests elsewhere on Saturday.

During demonstrations last week, security forces used stun grenades and water cannon against protesters, after the far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, vowed to crack down on "anarchists" who blocked roads.

Mr Netanyahu says the reforms are designed to stop the courts over-reaching their powers and that they were voted for by the Israeli public at the last election.

The pilot reservists are also reportedly concerned that the new hardline government's conduct could expose them to prosecution by the International Criminal Court, without being able to argue that an independent judiciary in Israel is responsible for ultimately investigating wrongdoing by its forces.

Human rights groups and Palestinian officials, however, have long dismissed Israel's own inquiries into its forces' conduct as a whitewash.

Threatened boycotts by reservists in Israel are not uncommon, but the scale and seniority of those now involved is unprecedented.

The pilots' protest adds to announcements by reservists in almost every combat or intelligence unit in recent weeks threatening not to serve if the government presses ahead with the highly controversial changes.

Army Chief of Staff Lt Gen Herzi Halevi has reportedly spoken to Mr Netanyahu, warning him that the action could harm the military's operational capabilities.


Related Articles

Saudi Press
Jamie Dimon is being deposed over JPMorgan Chase role in Epstein lawsuits
This is how an electric car saves all the energy that he would have spent if he had lived 50 years longer.
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
Social Media censoring users for saying the true
Smart Iranian fashion designer teaching dummy TV anchors lesson about reality
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
UK: Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister in Scotland
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Goldman Sachs cuts outlook for European bank debt over Credit Suisse crisis
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Announcing GPT-4
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
A brief banking situation report
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
Saudi Arabia has announced a major breakthrough in diplomacy with Iran after two years of intense talks
A Mississippian man, who was once considered a “ticking time bomb,” has lost a whopping 165 kilograms! What motivated this incredible transformation?
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Barcelona is feeling the heat as they face corruption charges over payments to former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Watch: “They are wounded but unbowed, unbreakable.”
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Old clip of Bill Gates saying Ukraine is a big, fat, corrupt sinkhole is going viral
Saudi Arabia To Introduce Yoga In Universities
Middle East real estate market to see strong growth in 2023, predicts CBRE.
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
Saudi Aramco, the energy giant, has acquired Valvoline Inc., a US-based oil company, for $2.65 billion
How do stolen goods end up on Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace?
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...