Israeli air force veterans say incoming government a danger

JERUSALEM (AP) — Over 1,000 senior Israeli air force veterans, including a former Israeli chief of staff, on Monday urged the country’s top legal officials to stand tough against the incoming government.

In a letter to the chief of Israel’s Supreme Court and other top officials, they said the alliance of religious and ultranationalist parties threatens Israel’s future. The letter was delivered days before the new government is to take office.

“We come from all strata of society and from across the political spectrum,” the letter said. “What we have in common today is the fear that the democratic state of Israel is in danger.”

It called the legal officials “the final line of defense” and implored them to “do everything in your reach to stop the disaster that is affecting the country.”

Among the nearly 1,200 signatories were Dan Halutz, who served as military chief from 2005-2007; Avihu Ben-Nun, a former commander of the air force and Amos Yadlin, a former head of military intelligence. All three are former fighter pilots.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners captured a parliamentary majority in Nov. 1 elections.

While they have not yet completed coalition negotiations, Netanyahu has reached a series of deals that would grant his far-right partners authority over the national police force and settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

They are promoting legislation to allow a politician who spent time in prison in a bribery case to serve as a Cabinet minister while on probation for a separate conviction on tax offenses. They also are expected to promote a series of changes in the legal system that critics say will weaken the judiciary and potentially dismiss criminal charges against Netanyahu.

On Sunday, Netanyahu rebuked an ally over anti-LGBTQ comments.

Netanyahu is expected to return to office as head of his new government on Thursday.

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