Lt. Col. Hertzi Halevi, the chief of staff for Israel, has warned that the country is in jeopardy and that calls to boycott Army reserves are weakening its strategic deterrent.
Halevi said on i24 news that “citizens are entitled to protest but refusal to serve drags the army into political disputes” and that “one can’t play with the army or use it as a tool for political expediency.”
Halevi has recently expressed concern that the current state of affairs may mark “the beginning of the end” for the IDF as each sector chooses which missions to carry out based on political preferences.
Halevi has been grappling with refusal for most of the last few days. The IDF’s senior brass and Air Force commanders have met with the chief of staff numerous times to discuss their plans.
On Tuesday, Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, and the commanders of reserve units will also meet with the head of staff to discuss these plans.
Halevi is concerned that the “divisive and hazardous” pattern of refusals may spread further, shattering the army’s need for unity to achieve its security objectives.
Halevi is sure that the role of IDF reservists should not be devalued even though he thinks other forces are attempting to use the IDF and reservists to push their viewpoints in the debate.
Halevi warns that firing dozens of reserve pilots who have publicly criticized the government’s proposed reforms may snowball and result in hundreds joining them.
Halevi is likewise against tackling the issue of refusal aggressively. He prefers to see development brought about by dialogue and justification.
Above all, the Chief of Staff clarified that he has no intention of interfering with the current political processes and that anyone who does so must be aware of the repercussions.
The current priority must be to stop the wave of refusals while allowing reserve members to use their right to protest and highlighting the value of reserve service.