The protesters refused to report for active duty in their respective units, a decision adopted for months by everything from former pilots to ex-commandos.
On Friday, more than a thousand Israeli Air Force (IAF) reservists announced the same decision in a public letter.
“We represent around 10,000 reservists who are telling the government, the defense secretary and the prime minister that the responsibility is theirs!” warned Eyal Neve, leader of Brothers in Arms, a reservist group opposed to the reform.
Our statement is clear: If the government violates core values and becomes a dictatorship, we will not serve, warned a former fighter pilot, quoted by The Jerusalem Post.
Former heads of the IDF, police, Mossad (foreign intelligence agency) and Shin Bet (internal intelligence agency) supported the reservists’ insubordination on Saturday.
“We hold you responsible for the severe blow to the IDF and security in Israel,” they wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Earlier last week, the IDF issued a statement saying the army was still ready for war, despite protests from reservists.
However, Channel 12 reported that the Armed Forces General Staff expects military preparations to be “significantly compromised” if the attack continues.
Also this month, reservists from the army’s elite unit (Sayeret Matkal) announced their rejection of the government’s proposal that would restrict the Supreme Court’s ability to overturn laws by allowing the Knesset (parliament) to re-enact regulations contested by that body.
In addition, the plan would allow the far-right executive branch to control the appointment of judges.
Days earlier, hundreds of IAF reservists, including retired generals, had issued a public letter supporting numerous pilots’ refusal to report for active duty.
The letter’s signatories include former IAF chiefs Dan Halutz and Avihu Ben Nun, as well as retired generals Gil Regev, Amos Yadlin, Dan Tolkovsky, Nimrod Shefer, Assaf Agmon, Ofer Lapidot and Amir Haskel.
Since earlier this year, the bill has drawn fierce public criticism and fierce opposition in the country, where systematic mass protests are raging amid warnings from economists, lawyers, academics and security officials.