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.
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.
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.