German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has voiced concern over proposed judicial reforms in Israel, urging calmness and dialogue on the controversial plans.
The president made the remarks in Berlin on Friday, during an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Haifa.
An elite Israeli Air Force fighter jet squadron has also grabbed headlines in the Jewish state after its pilots announced that they were boycotting a regular training exercise.
The move comes amid growing discontent over judicial reforms planned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
As many as 37 of the 40 reservists serving in the 69th fighter squadron said last Sunday that they would boycott a training session on Wednesday in solidarity with anti-reform protesters.
The reform in question, which sparked massive protests in Israel, would allow the government to control the appointment of judges, including those of the Supreme Court, and allow parliament to overrule the top court’s decisions with a simple majority.
However, a lieutenant colonel serving with the unit told the Jerusalem Post that the pilots will continue to serve the Jewish and democratic Israel, beyond the borders of the enemy at all times.
But, the Times of Israel reported that the protesting pilots had only agreed to talk to the commanders and still refused to train.
Known as ‘The Hammers’, the 69th Israeli Air Force Squadron is considered to be one of the most elite air force units. In 2007, the squadron carried out a strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor.
The protest is just the tip of the iceberg, according to Israeli media, which said a growing number of Israel Defense Force (IDF) units are joining the judicial reform demonstrations, with members also threatening to boycott exercises.
On Monday, Netanyahu slammed the reservists’ protest, saying it threatens the foundations of our existence and has no place in our ranks.
Meanwhile, around 6,000 IDF reservists signed a petition affirming their commitment to service and demanding the army be kept independent of politics.
The rare foreign policy remarks from the German president, who plays a largely ceremonial role, come ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the country next week, where he is expected to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
While Steinmeier did not elaborate on the exact nature of his “concerns” over the looming judiciary changes, the reforms have been a hot topic for Israel in recent weeks, sparking public controversy and mass protests.
The legislation, which is being prepared for readings in the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, has been branded oppressive by its critics, who have claimed it could jeopardize democracy and rule of law.
That stance was backed by Herzog, with the Israeli president urging the proposed judicial reform bill to be completely replaced.
In its current form, the legislation is wrong, predatory and dismantles our democratic foundations, Herzog said in a statement. He added that it must be replaced with another [bill], an agreed upon outline – and immediately.
RT. com / ABC Flash-Point News 2023.
Hmmmm perhaps if he could directed some of his ‘concern’ more towards the Israeli occupation of Palestine
Democratic Israel? more like fascist Zionist-Nazi outpost of war mongers, pedophiles and war criminals.
Nothing mentioned about Israeli Apartheid practices against the indigenous Palestinian people?
German president concern must be about the demise/extinction of whole state of Israel that causing 14 million Jews returning back home!
The citizens of Israel are tiered of the constant wars, assassinations, death and destruction that settle nothing.