Israeli reservists refuse to train in protest of judicial overhaul

Dozens of Israel’s air force reservists announced Sunday that they will not show up to duty for a training day in protest of the government’s planned judicial overhaul.

In an open letter, 37 of the 40 reservist pilots of Squadron 69, an elite air force unit, said they will not take part in an exercise scheduled for Wednesday.

The military did not comment on the letter, but Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a video statement that “any call for military disobedience harms the functioning of the army and its ability to carry out its duties.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extreme-right coalition government is pressing on with judiciary overhaul to “curb the overly activist Supreme Court.”

Fearing that Netanyahu, who faces an ongoing trial over corruption charges, wishes to gain excessive power over the legal system, tens of thousands of Israeli have been staging weekly public demonstrations over the past two months.

The Israeli air force has counted heavily on reservists on the battlefield, particularly pilots, navigators and other aircrew members. The reservists have been called for training several times a year to maintain the air force’s readiness. ■

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