Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Boomers who haven’t served in the IDF reserves for years sign a petition urging active reservists to abandon their responsibilities, July 19, 2023.

Moshe Nidam earlier this week suggested in a Makor Rishon op-ed that the refusal to serve in the IDF reserves is “a serious blow to the IDF and Israel’s security, with the potential of significant damage to the point of triggering a process of dissolution from within (military rebellion), a fact that threatens the Zionist enterprise and the Jewish state.”

It should be noted that until July 23, IDF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Herzi Halevi did not go public against the threat of (reportedly) several thousand active members of the reserves to stop showing up. Only after several months during which he and the commanders of the various corps––most notably the Air Force––had been trying to put out the fires quietly, did Halevi issue a public statement saying forcefully: “Serving in the IDF is a duty that is a great privilege, in both the conscripted and reserves service. That is why none of the servicemen have the right to say that they are no longer serving, and none of us has the right not to report for duty or to refuse an order or a call.”


And yet, on Wednesday, Kan11 News reported that the IDF high command is furious about a battalion commander who put two reservists on trial for refusing to show up for service and punished them – without consulting his bosses in the security apparatus.

It makes you wonder how reluctant are the chief of staff and the brass to act with conviction against the crates upon crates of bad apples that spread the rot throughout their orchard (see how I stuck with my metaphor? This is how it’s done!).

Meanwhile, Makor Rishon editor Ishay Fridman tweeted that dozens of doctors who serve in the reserves were briefed this week by attorney Holly Schwartz, a former Lieutenant Colonel and military prosecutor in the Northern Command, on how to evade the call to serve. Fridman said he has a recording of Schwartz instructing the doctors how to trick the system, most important – never admit that you’re refusing.

Here are more tricks, care of Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Schwartz: Demand that the e-mail order arrive by post and not by e-mail, to make it difficult for the army to call you; If you are put on trial for evading service, demand proof that it was based on an ideological refusal; Flood the disciplinary prosecution’s office with forms; request representation by an attorney, even though disciplinary hearings don’t require an attorney – it would cause delays anyway.

So cute. Like an episode of The Little Rascals but with Jews dying in the end.

As Nidam’s op-ed analyzed this deep-seated problem, the treatment of the phenomenon was unsuccessful from the beginning:

  • A softer alternative was chosen that tried to walk between the drops and led to confusion and even legitimacy among many of the refusers.
  • No distinction was made between refusal and the threat of refusal (which is much more serious).
  • Later, the army commanders made the mistake of not referring at all to the phenomenon of the letters and statements of senior officers (former generals and chiefs of staff) who called for refusal and a military revolt.
  • Not paying attention did not deter the refusers and even helped to normalize the phenomenon.
  • It was difficult to accept the fact that a letter calling for refusal which is signed by a large number of officers was not immediately addressed by the army commanders or at least received a chiding.
  • The reserves-based army requires regularization and reconceptualization, to assert that the service in it is mandatory, not voluntary, and of the highest value.

Now go bring back all the horses to the barn and lock the doors.


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