Photo Credit: David Cohen/Flash90
Hero of Israel Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani also came out against the refusal to serve.

Among the letters of refusal that were distributed last Friday, calling on the government to stop the judicial reform legislation or else, there was an unusual letter that opposed those refusals and the calls to stop serving in the reserves, even though its signatories disagree with one another on the reform.

Incidentally, many on the right have observed that the majority of the signatories of letters of refusal, from the Air Force and elite units are themselves in their fifties and sixties and have long since ended their reserve service. Those lists of signatories contain a scant five or six names of active reservists – the rest are boomers.


“Reservists are calling me up day and night begging me to call them for reserve service,” Captain K. told The Jewish Press on Monday. “Dozens who were retired from the IDF are requesting to be reinstated in any available unit, but they prefer combat. As a commander for more than 20 years in Manpower Operations, never have I seen such a tidal wave of people trying to get into the reserves and serve.”

According to Makor Rishon, they were Sayeret Matkal special force reservists who came out against the phenomenon of refusal and clarified in a letter to the commander of the unit, “If God forbid there is a manpower shortage – we will all volunteer to make up for it with additional reserve service days.”

One of the signatories, a fighter in the reserves, was amazed when he discovered his friends’ refusal letter. “The unit’s spirit was, and still is, to volunteer for any mission,” he told Makor Rishon, adding, “We talk about politics during the breaks. “We are convinced that our comrades in arms will show up to serve when the time comes. There are serious security challenges and we will always be there for the nation, the state, and the unit.”

“As far as we are concerned, the only red line is a clearly illegal order, and we are not even close to that,” he concluded.

Hero of Israel Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani also came out against the refusal to serve. When the 1973 Yom Kippur War broke out, Kahalani, then 29-year-old lieutenant colonel and battalion commander, served as commander of the 77th Armored Battalion of the 7th Brigade on the Golan Heights. Kahalani’s battalion, with other elements of the 7th Armored Brigade, engaged in fierce defensive fighting against a vastly superior Syrian mechanized force of more than 50,000 men and 1,200 tanks. The battle was one of the turning points of the war.

“During the Yom Kippur War we did not agree with the government,” Kahalani said. “2,657 fighters lie under marble slabs, even if they didn’t agree with the government’s decisions; the same in the Six Day War. We went to war, we didn’t ask questions – each of us is a soldier first and foremost.”

Reserve officers in active operational service from every IDF unit on Sunday held a press conference at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, where they called for refraining from using the military in the fight against judicial reform.

The reservists, all of them commanders and staff officers in active operational service of various ranks from all the IDF units, including the Armored Corps, Infantry, Air Force, and special forces, stressed their opposition to the refusals and issued a joint call for unity in the nation and keeping the IDF free from any political controversy.

Lt. Col. Boaz Kokia, a staff officer in the Paratroopers’ Division 98 who lost his son Sergeant Ron Kokia in a terrorist attack, said at the press conference that the refusals are a phenomenon that should not be accepted: “I never thought I would refuse to serve and harm Israel’s security. Those who refuse to serve in the reserves harm Israel’s security. The refusal is an unacceptable phenomenon. I urge the naysayers to retract and rescind their statements. I call on the volunteers to fill the ranks, to make it clear that there will be no harm caused to the IDF. Everything can be done within the law.”

Kokia added regarding the reserve’s refusers: “There should be a thorough investigation. Such a person should be removed from the manpower lists and not returned. The past merits of military personnel do not give them the right to call for mutiny. This is an injury to Israel’s resilience. This thing must not happen. Without security, there is no country.”

A female officer, Staff Sergeant Milka, who served in the 8200 hi-tech unit as an enlisted soldier and now serves in the reserves in the north, called on fellow reservists to continue to serve their country under any circumstance. “Our commander sent a message not to discuss political issues,” she said. “Most of the reservists come to serve and recognize the importance of their participation. We will continue to serve our country through fire and water, even if we don’t agree on the politics.”

An online petition has been formed for former soldiers and reservists to protest against the refusal to serve, that has already garnered thousands of signatures.

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