Air Force dismayed by 1,142 air crew reservists’ threat to balk duty in protest over judicial overhaul

Israel’s air force was rocked back on Friday, July 21, by a letter signed by 1,142 reservist airmen backing to the hilt the protest movement raging against the government’s disputed judicial reforms. This group announced their refusal to turn up for voluntary duty if the reforms are not abandoned. The signatories are fighter jet and helicopter pilots, drone operation crews, air traffic control officers, elite search and rescue personnel and Shaldag commandos.

In their letter to Air force Commander Tomer Bar, they called on the government and Knesset to “demonstrate leadership and seek broad agreement on the disputed legal issues.”

This is a moment of dire crisis, they said. “We all have a duty to save the country from a “Third Temple Destruction,” and heal the disastrous divisions, polarization and splits tearing our society apart. Israel’s innate democratic nature is precious to the entire nation” said the airmen. “It is a commitment enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, at the heart of Israel’s social contract. On that basis, we all serve our country with devotion and sacrifice under governments representing every shade of the political spectrum.”

Laws that affect the Jewish or democratic nature of the State of Israel must be put to negotiation and broad public consensus, the airmen insist. The independence of national institutions must be respected, since “unreasonable government actions will undermine our trust and willingness to continue to put our lives on the line for the sake of the country. It is with deep heartbreak that we are bound to suspend our voluntary duty as air force reservists,” the letter concludes.

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