Israel army covering up mass wave of unrest in its ranks

Middle East Monitor  /  July 24, 2023

An Israeli military source revealed yesterday that dozens of soldiers are rejecting military service in protest against the  judicial overhaul plan being pursued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition, local media reported.

A group of soldiers and reserve officers from the special units, including the Naval Commando Unit, Shayetet 13, said the army is covering up information about the number of soldiers who have rejected military service, with news only of reservists refusing duty.

According to a statement issued by a group of soldiers, dozens of regular soldiers plan to reject military service and refrain from extending their contracts in protest against the government’s insistence on going ahead with judicial amendments.

The bill would prevent Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, from applying what is known as the “standard of reasonableness” to decisions made by elected officials.

The government says the package is meant to restore power to elected officials, but critics argue it is a power grab by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges.

The judicial overhaul plan has divided Israel, and there has been unprecedented opposition from different circles, including the military and the business sector, many of whom have joined the ranks of the protesters. While businesses have been pulling out their funding in the country saying the government’s moves will stop Israel being a democracy and so they could not operate in it.