The IDF Spokesperson's Office denied reports on Saturday that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi had told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the military would lose its readiness for maintaining national security within 48 hours, due to protesting reservists against the repeal of the judiciary's reasonableness clause.
The denied leak came shortly after groups leading the call for reservists to quit the IDF announced that 10,000 reservists were joining their cause and 1,194 air force reservists, including an increasing number of combat pilots.
The IDF also said that Halevi would keep his communications to "the political echelon" - Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant - secret and would not share them with the public out of concern for national security.
Pointedly, the statement did not reassure the public about how long the IDF could maintain its readiness with the increasing wave of commitments to quit, and The Jerusalem Post understands that no such statement will be issued Saturday night, though the IDF had given off reassuring messages until the middle of this past week.
Halevi was expected to meet with Netanyahu and Gallant to provide them with additional updates on Sunday, but the IDF would not formally confirm the meetings.
Already on Thursday, Air Force Chief Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar issued a statement making it clear that the IDF was getting closer to a tipping point where the damage to the IDF's readiness would become real, though he also avoided giving a concrete timeline.
Former defense chiefs support reservists
Besides the IDF reservists and the Air Force specifically, a letter from former security chiefs to Netanyahu was released on Saturday blaming him for the crisis and calling on him to reverse course.
Five former Mossad chiefs, three former IDF chiefs, three former Shin Bet chiefs, including most recent chief Nadav Argaman, former police commissioners, and dozens of other top-ranking officials signed the letter.
In the letter, they said that "the Israeli government under your leadership is promoting legislative moves while completely ignoring the damage to Israeli democracy. The legislation is crushing those things shared by Israeli society, is tearing the people apart, disintegrating the IDF and inflicting fatal blows on Israel's security.
"The legislative process violates the social contract that has existed for 75 years between the Israeli government and thousands of reserve officers and soldiers from the land, air, sea, and intelligence branches who have volunteered for many years for the reserves to defend the democratic State of Israel, and now announce with a broken heart that they are suspending their volunteer service."
Moreover, they stated, "We reserve generals, police commanders, heads of departments in the Mossad and the Shin Bet, stand with them and fully support those combatants who have decided to take action and suspend their volunteer service in the reserves. At this difficult time, this is an act of national responsibility, for the defense of Israeli democracy.
"We place full responsibility on you for harming the IDF and Israel's security and expect you to take responsibility, to stop the legislation. We expect you to lead a process of dialog and agree to amendments that will have broad consensus among the people and in the Knesset.
"We, veterans of Israel's wars, feel like 'the eve of the Yom Kippur war' and are showing a bright red ‘stop’ sign to you and your government."Former defense chiefs
The letter was not signed by the most recent IDF chief Aviv Kohavi or the most recent Mossad chief Yossi Cohen. Kohavi has refused to comment on ongoing public events since stepping down in January so as not to harm Halevi's term.
Cohen participated in a letter earlier in 2023 against Netanyahu's earlier judicial overhaul process along with around a dozen former national security advisers but has kept silent this time.