Lay of the Land joins the call for Israel’s governing coalition members to HALT attacks on country’s security forces

Who would have thought that the army that keeps the people safe, its now the turn of the people to keep the army safe!

And safe from whom?

In  75 years of its remarkable existence, Israel has survived and thrived against all odds, only because it could depend on its “people’s army” – the IDF. When Jewish passengers were held hostage by terrorists in faraway Uganda, it was the IDF that came to the rescue as when the lives of thousands of Jews were threatened in disparate diasporas from Yemen to Ethiopia, it was the IDF that saved and returned them to their ancestral homeland in heroic secret missions. And when communities in need, irrespective of race or religion faced catastrophic natural disasters across the globe, no place, whether in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas was too far for the IDF to send salvation teams of specialists. Often the first volunteers to arrive at areas devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, fires, landslides or disease outbreaks, they were always on arrival, ready to save lives and saved lives, they did.

Now the IDF needs to be saved, not from the “usual suspects” of Hezbollah, Hamas or Iran but from within – from members of Netanyahu’s governing (a misnomer if ever there was one) coalition. This is why in the annals of Israel’s military history, this is not only another “SURPRISE” attack it is an attack from a totally unexpected front. Long accustomed to  attacks on multiple fronts,  who would have predicted the latest front being – our own government!

Prime targets in the coalition’s crosshairs is the IDF’s chief of staff Gen. Herzi Halevi and air force chief Tomer Bar. A minister in Netanyahu’s government and a member of his right-wing Likud party, David Amsalem, attacked them both in a scathing rant blaming Halevi and Bar for the anti-government protests roiling their ranks and asked they be punished.

In any normal army,”Amsalem told Israel’s Army Radio. “you treat rebels like rebels should be treated,”

A member of a coalition that is ONLY held together by the inclusion of the ultra-religious haredi community who refuse for their members to EVEN serve in the army and are presently pushing for a bill that would enshrine blanket exemptions for haredi men from EVER serving in the IDF, Amsalem’s name-calling of Israel’s IDF heroes as “rebels” is  beyond disgraceful.

It gets worse.

Berating prominent judicial figures and former military figures for backing the protest movement, Amsalem demands that they:

 “rot in prison until the end of their lives.”

Such vile verbiage from within the government defaming the very people who protect this country with their lives is unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s own son, Yair Netanyahu, a right-wing podcaster known for defaming others in order to defend his father, unleashed from his verbal arsenal a sickening attack ‘aimed’ at undermining the IDF’s stature and reputation.

He nauseatingly called chief of staff Halevi in a post on X, (formally Twitter):

 “the most failing and destructive chief of staff in the history of the IDF and the State of Israel.”

Interestingly, the post was later deleted as it was a glaring embarrassment – an act of stupidity and recklessness that undermined the security of the state of Israel.

Recognising that his own coalition partners were undermining the country’s military preparedness, Defense Minister and member of the Likud Party Yoav Gallant, defended his military, appealing that “If you cannot contain yourselves, attack me, the defense minister,” but “Keep the IDF out of the political debate.”

Amsalem’s remarks was swiftly condemned by opposition leaders. Leading the counterattack was former prime minister and leader of the opposition, Yair Lapid who said:

The IDF commanders and fighters aren’t ‘rebels’. They’re wonderful Israeli patriots keeping us alive,” He added that it was the rhetoric of Amsalem  that amounted to “rebellion and treason against the state…”

National Unity chief Benny Gantz, a former defense minister and army chief, blasted Netanyahu for allowing his allies to attack the top military brass. He “is allowing extremists to harm our most valuable asset,” he wrote on X, the social media outlet formerly known as Twitter.

Israel’s reservists, frequently referred to as “the backbone of the IDF,”  have a personal stake in protecting not only the country  but also the Supreme Court, which provides  by its international reputation, a legal “body Armour”.  So while  “We feel like we are doing the right thing, and that we are fighting for the democracy of Israel,” as one army reservist told CNN during a protest in Jerusalem, there is also the concern that a weakened judiciary being pushed for by the government will be unable to shield Israeli soldiers from possible criminal charges in the ICC.  

As former attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit warned why the country needs its courts to be independent:

The moment that the justice system in Israel isn’t perceived as such, Israel will lose international legitimacy for its military operations and will no longer be shielded from accusations of war crimes.”

So while this government expects its soldiers to protect the country, it shirks its responsibility of protecting its soldiers. As the furor reached a danger point caused by the rhetoric from the government and its supporters, the State President felt again the need and urgency to intervene. He did so by immediately appealing for “calm”. Zeroing on where the danger to Israel’s security was emanating from – Netanyahu’s government ministers – President Isaac Herzog  said:

These are statements that harm the strength of the IDF. We have a strong army and an excellent chief of staff…We all owe them gratitude and affect for their activities to protect the security of the country.”

We, at Lay of the Land subscribe to the message in the wording  of our State President.  Whatever grievance this government has with the reservists over their position on an issue that is tearing the country apart, it needs to be seriously addressed by debating with the people rather than defaming the army.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

2 thoughts on “STAND DOWN

  1. David I have known you for over 50 years from your time in Cape Town, South Africa and I couldn’t agree more with you on this subject. The military must be above politics and those that criticize them as they now have should be taken to task. Firstly, who cares what Yair Netanyahu writes he is a loose cannon and just causes his father headaches. Secondly tempers are frayed as accusations are thrown wildly at each other.

    The problem is today thousands of the reservists refuse to report for duty but if this is permissible then what would have happened when the IDF had to evacuate Yamit in the Sinai and Gush Katif in Gaza. Are servicemen to be allowed to choose what orders they will obey and those they won’t, Will National Religious units be allowed to refuse to evict unauthorised hilltop settlements established by their yeshiva mates. This is setting a dangerous precedent.

    The IDF serves the country and not the Government. If the reserves don’t like them vote them out but they were elected democratically more so than the previous one where Bennet betrayed his voters.

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