Army comrades of education minister and former Israel Air Force pilot Rafi Peretz have warned him that he must intervene in what they said was a brewing civil war triggered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claim that the indictment against him was an "attempted coup."
Peretz' former colleagues at the Air Force academy voiced their concerns over what they said was "resounding silence" from Peretz and his Jewish Home–National Union party and called on him to step in to stop the unrest slowly rising in Israeli society due Netanyahu's comments.
"Even if you could use the excuse that [Attorney General Avichai] Mandelblit still hadn’t decided to indict the prime minister as justification for standing up for Netanyahu, this is no longer the case," read their letter sent to Peretz after the Monday meeting.
"The dramatic question now is this: Are you on the side of law and justice, or are you on the side of civil unrest?" the letter read. "In 2005, even though you had strong objections to the Gaza disengagement, you stopped your students from crossing the red line of rebelling against the country, you were a symbol and an example to anyone who knows there's nothing more important than stopping a civil war."
The letter warned Peretz that civil war in Israel was not far off, and in fact much closer than it was in 2005, when the country was bitterly divided over the withdrawal from Gaza.
"As your friends who value you and know what is in your heart of hearts, we implore you: don't support those that would incite insurgency against the country's authority and rule of law. Stand up for the nation and unity."
Peretz received a similar letter from MK Stav Shaffir of the Democratic Union.
"The disagreement I have with you is a deep one," she wrote, "but there's one thing I want to believe we're not in disagreement about - I know that fundamentally we both want what is best for Israel and its people."
"I call on you," Shaffir's letter continued, " don't side with an accused man who besmirches law enforcement authorities and calls proper democratic proceedings a coup d'état."
Shaffir added: "As education minister, perhaps the most important job in the country, it's your responsibility to oversee the principles and ethics of Israel's youth. The day the country's prime minister is accused of corruption and breach of trust is a day of ethical decay."
First published: 17:25 , 11.26.19