IDF chief to meet with pilots, troops to stanch flow of refusals

IDF chief Herzi Halevi is reportedly set to meet with military pilots and other soldiers over threats to skip out on training or service in protest of the government’s push to make wide-ranging changes to judicial authority.

Halevi is planning to sit down with air force pilots and representatives from all IAF squadrons, as well as with a group of commanders from the military’s ground forces, Channel 12 news reports.

The army chief is not slated to meet with the 37 pilots from a single 40-man squadron who announced Sunday that they would refuse to show up for training.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at a ceremony in the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, January 16, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The military does not respond to a request to comment on the report.

The group is the latest, and highest-profile, in a growing list of IDF units, including some of the most elite, seeing members threaten to not show up amid widescale opposition to the government’s plans that critics say will undermine democracy and harm the economy and security.

Halevi will tell the soldiers that they should not refuse to serve and should not bring political disputes into the military, appealing to their sense of duty to always respond when needed, the channel reports.

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