Setting the Record Straight about Israelis Refusing Military Service

In recent weeks, the Israeli media have run story after story about groups of citizens declaring that they will refuse to show up for reserve duty until the government relents on its plans to reform the Supreme Court. The reservists in question oftentimes belong to especially important IDF units. But, David M. Weinberg explains, the problem is not nearly so widespread or serious as one might think:

First, I suspect that the numbers are fuzzy and exaggerated. In fact, a deeper dive indicates that very many of the purportedly AWOL soldiers are long retired from reserve service of any type. This reality became clear in a rare television news segment on Wednesday night where Yair Pelei, the Golani Brigade’s commander, stripped the refuse-to-serve festival of its factual moorings. Hundreds of Golani reservists are currently participating in a massive training exercise on the Golan Heights. Not a single reserve soldier refused to show up for duty, Pelei said.

Second is the fact that for every refuse-to-serve declaration highlighted by the mainstream . . . media there is an equal if not much greater number of petitions and declarations out there against . . . avowals to refuse to serve.

By my count—and I did my homework in tabulating this—well over 100,000 Israeli active-duty and reserve military personnel are on record as rejecting the calls to refuse to serve. [Last] week, 150 very senior IDF military-intelligence reserve officers published a public call against refusal to serve; a call to leave the IDF out of and beyond political debate; and a call on all military-intelligence personnel to answer with enthusiasm and vigor, as always, all draft calls for reserve duty.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: IDF, Israeli Judicial Reform, Israeli politics, Israeli society

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security