Dozens of recently-graduated Israeli Air Force pilots who recently completed their active service have asked the IDF to call them to return for reserve service.
The call comes in response to a call by reserve leaders who have declared they will not serve in reserves if the government passes its planned judicial reform.
The letter was sent by the “Pilots for Good” forum, as a response to an announcement by the leaders of the reservists’ protest who warned they will not serve if the Knesset passes the judicial reform legislation.
The organizers of the reservists’ protest announced an “escalation of the struggle” at a news conference in the Air Force Base in Herzliya.
“The government continues to rush through legislation, the defense minister is silent and the government is violating the contract between it and us,” said reserve Lt. Col. Ron Sharaf.
“An executive authority with unlimited power is a dictatorship. If these laws are enacted, the People’s Army will not be able to exist,” Sharaf claimed.
“We commit to return to service regardless of which government is leading the country,” some 50 pilots wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the IDF Chief of Staff, Israel Air Force Commander, and the defense minister.
“We oppose refusals and are ready to return immediately to operational service,” the letter said.
The letter was signed by pilots who are able to return to service and who were discharged by military personnel for reasons unrelated to their operational capabilities, such as the closure of a squadron.
“We pledge to respond to the call to return to active reserve service and defend the State of Israel,” the 50 pilots wrote.
“We have made it clear to the commander of the Air Force that we will be ready to serve at any time,” IDF Major Shai Kalach, leader of the “Pilots for Good” forum, told Israel’s Channel N12 News. “The Air Force reserve is not in doubt, and does not suffer from personnel gaps,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a visit Tuesday to the IDF recruitment center where he met the latest Golani Brigade and combat recruits at Tel Hashomer, “We have no country without any army.
“We have no country without soldiers who are recruited for service,” he said. “You are being recruited to defend our heritage, exactly that. These are not merely high-sounding words.
“In the history of the Jewish people, the worst thing that happened to us was that we lost the ability to defend ourselves. Therefore, generations of Jews, over thousands of years, were like driven leaves in the wind; they slaughtered us. The Jewish people in exile were a people who were slaughtered. We could not do anything,” the prime minister pointed out.
“When we returned and established the State of Israel, we established the ability to defend ourselves. The ability to defend ourselves is you, each one of you; this is the great change,” he emphasized.
“Those who seek to destroy us have not disappeared. They take on a different form and come back, [such as] Iran and its proxies. What has changed is our ability to confront them.
“Of course, I want you to safeguard the country but more than anything, watch out for each other,” Netanyahu added.