One hundred and sixty-one Israeli Air Force control officer reservists announced on Tuesday evening that they were stopping their volunteer reserve service, effective immediately, due to the government's planned judicial reform.
"We are a group of reservists who are at the forefront of thinking, planning, and control of Air Force operations in times of calm and combat for decades," wrote the reservists. "We serve at the Air Force headquarters and outside it, among us are aircrew members, controllers, drone operators, intelligence officers, and other positions."
The reservists pointed to the reasonableness standard bill set to pass into law on Sunday and the judicial selection committee bill which was approved in a first reading in March, stating "the final approval of either of these laws and their entry into the statute book of the State of Israel is a formal and short process, but one that will drastically change the essence and face of the state and turn it from a democracy into a dictatorship."
The Air Force personnel stressed that they were not prepared to carry out missions "under a regime in which the foundations of democracy are trampled one after the other."
IAF commander calls on commanders to urge reservists to stay
IDF Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar late Tuesday night responded to notices of IDF air force reservists that 161 would immediately cease their service to protest the government's judicial overhaul policy, saying, "This is a complex time period with lots of announcements tonight."
"I assume we will experience an intense period of media coverage this coming week," continued Bar.
He said, "We will clarify the exact details surrounding the letter and its implications. However, the responsibility which remains with us has not changed - to continue the command dialogue with our reservists and mandatory service officers," regarding the tensions which have engulfed Israeli society over the overhaul debate.
Bar added that the air force has kept Israel safe for 75 years and that the current security challenges are as dangerous as ever and require the air force to remain on its highest guard.