Hundreds of submarine reservists call to stop overhaul ‘before we reach the abyss’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The INS Tekuma Dolphin-class submarine is escorted by Saar 5 and 4.5 Class Corvettes during a drill in the Red Sea, June 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
The INS Tekuma Dolphin-class submarine is escorted by Saar 5 and 4.5 Class Corvettes during a drill in the Red Sea, June 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Reservists and veterans of Israel’s submarine fleet come out strongly against the coalition’s planned judicial overhaul, warning in an open letter that its repercussions could “reach the depths of the sea and damage the critical strength of the submarine fleet.”

The hundreds of submariners who signed the letter, some of whom still serve in the reserves, join the groups of pilots, tankists, special forces and sailors who have penned similar letters in recent weeks.

In the open letter, which will be published tomorrow in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, the roughly 300 submariners call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the proposed judicial legislation immediately.

“Full of fear, we are watching the regime change that you are leading and the division that it is already causing in the nation,” they write.

The submariners hint at the unparalleled strategic significance of the fleet, which according to foreign reports, is able to carry nuclear missiles and grant Israel a “second strike” capability, meaning the ability to launch atomic weapons even if the homeland is attacked.

“We submariners are concerned for the future of the fleet that we helped create and built into a force. It is a unit that needs the best youth to continue to volunteer to serve in it, and it requires almost absolute cohesion among its fighters and total faith in the political echelon that is dispatching it. The rifts, the division, and the hatred that we are all witnessing will get worse if the regime change that you are leading is completed. They will fray the best parts of the nation and the military and they are poised to reach the depths of the sea and damage the critical strength of the submarine fleet,” they say.

“We are calling on you — full of pain and with a clear voice — stop this rapid decline that you are bringing us to before we reach the abyss. The security of Israel is dear to us. Take your hands off Israeli democracy. The damages caused will be devastating and irreversible.”

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