| 28 March 2023, Tuesday |

Israeli reservist colonel dismissed over judicial reform protest

The Israeli air force said on Thursday that it had fired a reservist officer for attempting to organize group walkouts from training flights as part of a growing protest against the government’s planned judicial reforms.

The military said in a statement that the colonel, whose name was not released, “behaved… in a manner unbecoming of his officer’s rank and station” in its first disciplinary measure during Israel’s political crisis.

Separately, air force chief Major-General Tomer Bar said the colonel “took upon himself inappropriate authority in his contact with the IAF pilots. Unionizing to synchronize absence from service, though coming from good intentions, is forbidden.”

Thirty-seven reservist pilots and navigators from an F-15 squadron said on Sunday they would skip a training day to “devote our time to dialogue and reflection for the sake of democracy and national unity”.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right coalition plans changes to the judiciary that would include curbing Supreme Court powers. Netanyahu says this will restore balance between branches of government but critics see it as an effort to hollow out judicial independence.

The protest in the ranks jarred Israelis, who see their conscript-based military as a melting-pot that should be kept free of politics. Air force crews in the reserves take part in training as volunteers, without a legal obligation to attend.

  • Reuters