Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is the first government minister to condemn Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, who said yesterday IDF reservists protesting the government’s judicial overhaul can “go to hell.”
Speaking after a meeting with the commanders of reserve units, Gallant does not mention Karhi by name but says that he intends to protect all the reservists, even those he has political differences with.
“Those who disparage IDF soldiers, from the left or the right, have no place in public service,” Gallant says. “I cherish, appreciate and support the reservists, regardless of their political position.”
Gallant also called on reservists to stop threatening to refuse to do their duty as part of the protests against the government.
“The word refusal [to serve] should remain out of the conversation. This refusal is undermining the most basic foundation of the state’s existence — our security, and we cannot allow that,” Gallant says.
“The threats of refusal are playing with fire, we need to leave the IDF above all debate — a protest against the government does not permit activities against the state,” he says.
Representatives of the reservists are quoted by Channel 12 as saying to Gallant and to IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi, who also participates in the meeting: “Your silence is very hurtful for us. We are being insulted by contemptible people in the government. You, who are in charge, must give us backing, ensure calm, protect and defend us. Where will you be when we need you? Minister of defense, are you motivated solely by political considerations? This is simply despicable.”
Halevi tells those present: “Refusal is a red line. We won’t tolerate refusal or what amounts to refusal. It can weaken us, and what weakens us today can’t always be easily strengthened when it needs to be.”