update deskIsrael News

IDF chief warns of ‘dangerous cracks’ amid reservist threats

"If the best do not serve in the army—we will no longer be able to exist as a country in the region."

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 18, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 18, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi is warning of “dangerous cracks” in the military’s “competence and cohesion” amid threats by thousands of reservists to refuse service.

A group of 10,000 reservists from 40 military units announced on Saturday evening that they will not report for duty if the “reasonableness bill” passes into law. This comes after Friday’s announcement that more than 1,000 Israel Air Force pilots will suspend their reserve service should the judicial reform effort advance.

“Service in the IDF is a duty that is a great privilege, both regularly and in the reserves. If we do not have a strong and cohesive army, if the best do not serve in the IDF—we will no longer be able to exist as a country in the region,” Halevi wrote in a letter published on Sunday.

“Therefore, none of those who serve have the right to say that they no longer serve, and we do not have the right not to show up or to refuse an order or call. I call on all reservists, even in these complex days, to separate civil protest from security service and report. The calls for non-attendance hurt the IDF,” Halevi continued. 

The army chief was reportedly going to brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the reservist situation on Sunday, but that meeting was canceled due to the premier being hospitalized overnight for a procedure to implant a pacemaker.

“These days, almost two thousand years after the destruction of the Second Temple, the IDF is strong thanks to its people, its capabilities and above all thanks to its values​—the values ​​of the spirit of the IDF, according to which we acted and will continue to act in the future. We don’t have another nation and we don’t have another IDF,” Halevi said.

“It is not too late to fix. It must be corrected because there is no alternative to internal and external cohesion. This is the responsibility of all of us, and first and foremost is my personal responsibility as chief of staff. This is the only way we can fulfill the IDF’s mission: to protect the country and ensure its existence,” he said.

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