search

1,000 ex-air force officers ask jurists to stop new government from razing democracy

IAF personnel, including former chief of staff Dan Halutz, warn top legal officials: ‘You are the last line of defense’ against fundamental changes to state they fought for

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: Three pilots stand in front of an F-16 fighter jet as it takes off from the Israeli Air Force's 117th Squadron, which was closed on September 30, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: Three pilots stand in front of an F-16 fighter jet as it takes off from the Israeli Air Force's 117th Squadron, which was closed on September 30, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

More than 1,000 former senior Israel Air Force officers warned in a letter to the country’s top jurists that Benjamin Netanyahu’s incoming right-wing and religious government would “destroy” the democratic country they had fought for.

“We were all ready to sacrifice our lives for the country throughout our years as combat pilots. Even after serving in the Air Force, we continued to take part in building the state to the best of our ability,” the 1,197 officers wrote in the letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, Knesset legal adviser Sagit Afik, and other senior members of Israel’s judicial system.

“We come from all levels of society and all over the political spectrum… but what we all have in common today is the fear that the democratic state of Israel is in danger,” they said.

“You are the last line of defense and it is in your hands to stop the process of destroying democracy,” the former IAF officials told the legal officials.

“The State of Israel, which was established as a Jewish and democratic state, will not be able to exist as declared by the Declaration of Independence, if it gives up its identity as a liberal democracy,” they added.

Among the signatories were former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz, former chiefs of the IAF Avihu Ben-Nun and Eitan Ben Eliyahu, as well as Amos Yadlin, who served as chief of Military Intelligence.

Former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz, speaks during a conference on July 14, 2016. (Flash90)

Members of Netanyahu’s incoming government have vowed to pass far-reaching legal reforms, including legislation that would allow the Knesset to override High Court rulings, among other controversial moves, some of which relate to the military.

Netanyahu announced Wednesday night that he had succeeded in forming a coalition with the far-right Otzma Yehudit, Religious Zionism and Noam, and his long-time ultra-Orthodox partners Shas and UTJ, which together won 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset in November’s election.

However, full coalition deals have yet to be signed by the parties, with several outstanding issues remaining.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.