IDF chief says in debate on overhaul, military picks side of ‘protecting country’

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

IDF chief Herzi Halevi speaks at a military ceremony in Tel Aviv on March 28, 2023. (IDF)
IDF chief Herzi Halevi speaks at a military ceremony in Tel Aviv on March 28, 2023. (IDF)

Military chief Herzi Halevi says that amid the controversy in Israel over the government’s judicial overhaul, the Israel Defense Forces has picked the side of “protecting the country.”

“In recent days quite a few people have been telling me: ‘Choose which side of history you want to be on.’ They are, by the way, on both sides of the dispute,” Halevi says at an awards ceremony for outstanding soldiers.

“And this is my answer: ‘I chose,’ because we chose. As soon as we put on a uniform, as conscripts, as career soldiers, and in the reserves, we chose to be on the side that protects the country,” he says. “We chose to be the ones who enable life here, prosperity, and yes, also the right to be divided.”

“This is our courage, to be the defenders of this country on the outside even when it is difficult within us, to stand up and forge a path forward for it, through all the difficulties,” he adds.

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