Mass resignations in the Israeli army after parliament passes controversial judicial reform in Israel
The Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) reported that around 830 soldiers, including more than 260 pilots, have quit the Israeli Air Force.
An unnamed army spokesperson said on Israeli army radio that the soldiers' refusal of duty "threatens the effectiveness of the army".
"If we do not have a strong and united army, if the best option is not to serve in the army, we will not be able to exist as a country in this region," Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said in an open letter shared yesterday, addressed to the soldiers who left voluntary reserve military service to protest the government's controversial judicial reform.
The "judicial reform" announced by Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin on January 5 includes changes such as limiting the powers of the Supreme Court and giving the government a say in judicial appointments.
On March 27, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he had postponed the judicial reform, which has caused increasing mass protests and strikes across the country, but announced that they would bring the judicial reform back to the agenda after the 2023-2024 budget is passed by the Parliament at the end of May.
The government had recently resumed its push for a judicial overhaul after negotiations with the opposition broke down.
The Netanyahu government passed a bill to remove the Supreme Court's control over the government in a parliamentary session boycotted by the opposition on July 24, despite massive protests and intense public debate across the country.
Thousands of Israelis, including fighter pilots, submarine officers and other elite troops, who opposed the government's "judicial reform", decided to quit voluntary reserve military service.
In Israel, senior figures in politics, the army, security, economy and the judiciary have expressed their opposition to the government's judicial reform.
The protest movement against the Netanyahu government's judicial regulation has been continuing its demonstrations for about 7 months.