300 cyberwarfare reservists say they won’t volunteer for reserve duty

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

An Israeli soldier of the C4I Corps works at a computer, in an undated photo published by the military on September 21, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
An Israeli soldier of the C4I Corps works at a computer, in an undated photo published by the military on September 21, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Some 300 reservists in cyberwarfare units have issued a letter saying they will not show up for volunteer reserve duty, after the Knesset okayed the first reading of a bill to eliminate courts’ ability to rule on the “reasonableness” of governmental decisions.

“The Netanyahu government proved today that it is bent on crushing the State of Israel. Passing the law to cancel the reasonableness clause is the first step in the transformation of the State of Israel into a corrupt, dark, and weak state,” the letter reads.

The reservists warn that “cyber ​​capabilities that are sensitive and have the potential to be misused must not be entrusted to a criminal government that undermines the foundations of democracy.”

“Confidence in the government’s ability to direct offensive cyber activity has been deeply fractured. This is a clear and immediate danger,” the letter says.

“Therefore, we, the 300 signatories… are immediately withdrawing from our voluntary reserve service. We will not develop capabilities for a criminal regime, and we will not assist in training the future generation of cyber [warfare soldiers],” they add.

Unlike most reservists who are called up for duty with a formal order from the IDF, pilots and other special forces show up for duty more frequently and in a voluntary manner, often not during an emergency, due to the nature of their position.

The military has said that it would discipline soldiers who refuse to show up for duty when ordered to, but stressed that no action would be taken against reservists who only threaten not to show up.

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