ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

search

IDF officer ousted from his position for attending pro-overhaul rally in uniform

Major was seen in combat garb with rifle over shoulder carrying stretcher during performance at protest in Jerusalem, in violation of military regulations

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

An IDF officer with the rank of major is seen participating in a protest in support of the judicial overhaul in Jerusalem, April 27, 2023. (Screenshot: Channel 12 news; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An IDF officer with the rank of major is seen participating in a protest in support of the judicial overhaul in Jerusalem, April 27, 2023. (Screenshot: Channel 12 news; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A military officer with the rank of major was ousted from his position on Sunday for participating in a rally in support of the government’s judicial overhaul plans last week while in uniform.

Troops up to the rank of lieutenant colonel are allowed to take part in political protests, provided they are not wearing their uniform or are identifiable as servicemembers.

The Israel Defense Forces said the officer participated in the demonstration in Jerusalem on Thursday while wearing military uniform, in violation of military regulations.

The IDF said he would be removed from his role and be given a non-command position instead. Additionally, he was handed a suspended 25-day jail sentence.

“The participation of an IDF officer in a demonstration while wearing a uniform is prohibited and completely unacceptable,” the IDF said in a statement.

According to Army Radio, the IDF found out about the officer’s participation in the protest from footage aired on TV.

An IDF officer with the rank of major is seen participating in a protest in support of the judicial overhaul in Jerusalem, April 27, 2023. (Screenshot: Channel 12 news; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The officer, who served as a training commander in the Border Defense Corps, was seen wearing combat dress with his rifle around his shoulder and carrying a speaker on a stretcher with other protesters, as part of a performance at the demonstration.

After the footage aired, the officer was called in for a dressing down by his superiors, before being sentenced on Sunday.

On Thursday, some 200,000 supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government packed the streets around the Knesset in Jerusalem, staging their largest rally yet aimed at providing the coalition with public support for its plans, in light of widespread opposition at home and abroad.

Last month, after facing massive pushback, Netanyahu agreed to temporarily pause the overhaul to allow time for negotiations with opponents of the legislation.

An aerial photo of the pro-judicial overhaul rally in Jerusalem on April 27, 2023. (Flash90)

Critics say the overhaul, which will shift much of the judiciary’s power into the government’s hands, will make Israel a democracy in name only, shielding leaders from accountability while leaving minority rights largely unprotected and subject to the whims of Netanyahu’s hard-right government. Proponents say the changes are needed to rein in what they see as an overly activist court.

Polls have consistently shown that the legislation is broadly unpopular in its current form, and that support for the government has dropped since the election.

Many reservists — who are a key part of the army’s routine activities, including in top units — have warned they will not be able to serve in an undemocratic Israel, which they charge the country will become under the government’s plan.

When not in active service, reservists are allowed to participate in political demonstrations.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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.