Blood could be shed in the ongoing government push for the broader judicial reform, former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon said on Friday.
Speaking at the first Nahalal Conference for Democracy held in the northern moshav, Ayalon noted that the judicial overhaul, “which we call a change of regime, is clashing with the refusal to volunteer,” which the government is calling a form of “military coup.”
“In this clash, blood could be shed,” he warned.
The government succeeded in July in having the Knesset repeal aspects of the High Court of Justice’s judicial review powers, known as the reasonableness standard.
Also, the government has said that it wants to alter the Judicial Selection Committee to obtain greater control over High Court appointments.
Opponents have called these moves a judicial overhaul, revolution, or even a “regime change” based on the idea that they say it would end the judicial branch’s independence.
Over 10,000 IDF reservists have quit or said they will soon quit to protest the judicial overhaul.
Government supporters have said they are merely rebalancing the powers between the branches after they believe the judiciary has taken too much power over recent decades.
Many members of the government have attacked protesting reservists, saying they are trying to pull off a “military coup,” though generally a military coup does not involve quitting, but an attempt by a military to take more power.
Also, to date, none of the current serving career echelon in the IDF has disobeyed any government orders or policies, though they have clashed in statements about exempting haredim from IDF service.
The haredim have demanded a law that would fully exempt them from IDF service, which would legally enshrine a situation that has existed for most ultra-Orthodox since the founding of the state.
However, consistent surveys have shown that the majority of both government supporters and opposition members believe it is unfair for haredim to have a blanket exemption when the vast majority of other citizens (other than Arab Israelis) are mandated to serve.
Ayalon calls on Israelis to 'channel energy into a resolution'
According to Ayalon, the challenge facing Israel is to “channel all of that energy into a resolution.
“It cannot arrive from only one side,” Ayalon stressed. “If it does, then we have failed.”
On Thursday, Heritage Minister Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu (Otzma Yehudit) argued that the IDF must change to a volunteer military system and release all Israelis who do not wish to serve.
“Even if every Israeli gets drafted there will never be equality in the IDF,” the minister charged. “We have to release anyone who does not want to serve, turn the military into a professional one.”
Every top IDF official has strongly opposed such suggestions, saying they would lose the highest-quality soldiers, who would not be motivated to serve in dangerous and critical units if it was not seen as part of a prestigious and national mission.