IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy and Air Force Chief Tomer Bar reportedly argued with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after they issued a joint statement regarding the potential harm to the IDF from reservists not reporting for duty over the judicial changes.
Bar had warned reserve pilots who were opposing the government’s changes that they could “worsen damage to the army’s readiness,” meaning that there was already such damage due to the protests.
According to sources on Channel 12 and Channel 13, Netanyahu allegedly snapped at Bar and Halevi, saying, “It looks like the army is running the country.”
He was reported to have yelled, “You’re ruining our credibility as a deterrent.” Why are you publishing headlines in this manner? ” According to the sources, Bar and Halevi refused to apologize for their remarks about the army’s readiness, with Halevi allegedly telling Netanyahu that “it is our duty to issue a warning when the army’s fitness is at risk.”Netanyahu’s office denied to Channel 13 that the prime minister had yelled during the negotiations, saying that “even when the prime minister speaks forcefully, he doesn’t yell.”
In order to meet with the IDF leaders at a special cabinet meeting on IDF readiness, which also included Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, the prime minister postponed his vacation.
The generals cautioned Netanyahu during the meeting that the army will start to feel the effects in the upcoming weeks as the constitutional crisis intensifies and the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the legality of the repeal of the reasonability law.
Additionally, the potential adoption of new fundamental legislation extending charedi draft exemptions would lead to additional unrest and refusals to serve in the reserve, which would weaken the IDF’s readiness.
According to Kan, Netanyahu later met with Shas party leader Aryeh Deri and Justice Minister Yariv Levin to discuss the draft exemption law. During that meeting, Netanyahu claimed to be trying to make concessions.
After the coalition advanced the first significant piece of legislation on the judicial changes, about 10,000 reservists who regularly report for duty on a voluntary basis said last month that they would no longer do so.
The reservists, many of whom followed through on their threats, have warned that if the government’s plans come to fruition, Israel will become an undemocratic state, and they will not be able to serve there.
Netanyahu reportedly informed the generals on Sunday that it wasn’t worth stopping down for compromise negotiations with the opposition, according to Channel 12 News.
According to reports, he added, “When you raised the flag last time, we stopped for three months, but nothing came of it because there are players whose goal is the downfall of the government.” According to reports, Netanyahu continued, “There’s little chance of compromise on the Judicial Selection Committee,” alluding to the central legislation in the proposed judicial changes that will make the committee responsible for choosing Israel’s judges more reflective of the population.
It would probably be approved at the winter Knesset session, as the prime minister reaffirmed last week. According to Netanyahu’s office, during the meeting on Sunday, he “ordered that the IDF’s fitness and preparedness be maintained in times of routine and emergency for any challenge.”
The Sunday meeting, according to those in attendance, was disappointing because the prime minister was unimpressed by their presentation of evidence demonstrating harm to the military’s readiness and instructed the military to stay out of politics, according to Channel 12 News.
A source close to Netanyahu informed the channel, in response to reporting on the remarks from the conversation and meeting, that “steps will be taken to stop the dangerous trend in light of leaks related to defense matters.”