Resistance to the planned judicial reform in the country has arisen in the Israeli military. 37 of the 40 fighter pilots of Fighter Squadron 69 refused to start their reserve training during the week, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Instead, they wanted to protest against the reform in front of government institutions. Reservists from other units also threatened to refuse service if the initiative by Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing religious government was implemented.
The reform of the judiciary is progressing despite violent protests from large parts of the population. According to media reports, the first phase could be approved in a fast-track procedure by April. According to the government's plans, Parliament should in future be able to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. In addition, politicians should be given more influence in the appointment of judges. The proposed law could also play into Netanyahu's hands in an ongoing corruption trial against him.
Experts warned a weakening of the Supreme Court could make it more likely that Israeli soldiers will face charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This court can only become active if a state does not conduct serious criminal proceedings of its own accord. For this reason, the respected Supreme Court has so far also served as a "shield" for soldiers.
There was also harsh criticism of Netanyahu from veterans of the elite unit Sayeret Matkal, in which the 73-year-old also served. In an open letter, the veterans wrote that Netanyahu's brother Jonatan deliberately sacrificed his own life for the state and people of Israel during a rescue operation by the unit at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976. The team then rescued Israeli passengers on a hijacked Air France plane. "It's sad, but you, Bibi (Netanyahu's nickname), are consciously and open-eyed sacrificing the state and people of Israel for your own interests," the letter said.