Defense minister: Refusal by reservists’ to serve could jeopardize IDF missions

Yoav Galant reportedly told the prime minister he would quit as defense minister if the government’s judicial overhaul was not modified, since the spreading wave of refusals by reservists to serve, he warned, may cause the IDF to fail to carry out its missions and even “to fall apart.” This reported warning, which was not denied, articulates the most horrendous consequence of the spreading twelve-week outcry across the country against the judicial reform plan and its ongoing legislation. It most likely impelled Binyamin Netanyahu to push the coalition on Sunday to “soften” the judges’ selection panel segment. This in turn Monday sparked a counterthreat of resignations by the plan’s author, justice minister Yariv Levin and his supporters.

Israel’s army is the country’s proudest and most unifying force, an iconic people’s army, the guaranteed bulwark of its security and traditionlally strictly removed from political, social or other divisions. If it “falls apart” as feared by Galant, the nightmarish scenario is posed of the IDF’s breakup into separate forces vying for dominance – i.e. civil war.

Israel’s enemies, scenting their chances are gearing up to exploit a suddenly vulnerable, hitherto unbeatable Jewish state. Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah harps on this gleeful prospect in his recent speeches. In a few years, he says, “I see the end of Israel. People will be thronging to the airports, the seaports and the border crossings.” And he went on to say: “We won’t have to wait forty years for Israel to perish. All the elements of its survival are weakening while the tempest is growing stronger. In the light of current events, Some Arabs are saying that Israel is just the same as their own countries with no effective central government, like Iraq, Syria and Libya.”

Even Israel’s loyal friends find that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Levin “shot themselves in the foot” by the bad timing and the hasty and misjudged effect of the judicial reform they prioritized in the first month of their return to power, ahead of issues of immediate popular concern One cardinal mistake was to present the plan in one lump to be enacted without delay,  without performing the groundwork for preparing the public or even the ruling Likud party itself. While the coalition commands a 64-majority in parliament, it can no longer count on all its members voting for the disputed reform bill.

The decision to “soften” the judges’ selection panel composition and postpone the rest of the plan to the Knesset’s summer session is too little and too late to calm the frenzy of hundreds of thousands of protesters out on the streets and making dangerous inroads on military solidity.

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