The immunity law will harm the legal status of soldiers who worked in the civil service (illustration by Arnon Kramer) (photo: illustration: Arnon Kramer)
Dear passengers, welcome to the captain's talk
, you don't usually see us but today we are together and tomorrow I am in my squadron or reserve unit, and I am not the only one.
The flight crew at an Israeli airline includes women and men, most of whom serve in the reserves or have served regularly or permanently in the past as is customary in the State of Israel.
Our military service does not only take place in the air force squadrons, it prevails in all army units from the infantry to the armor, from the navy and the medical corps.
It has no equal in any airline in the world, the Israeli uniqueness is also a huge pride.
Reserve service in Israel is a cornerstone of Israeliness, but the bill for blanket immunity for security service in the past and present may erode this cornerstone and make it disappear.
Will pilots who were soldiers in the IDF have to look over their shoulder from now on, every time they make a civilian flight? (Photo: ShutterStock)
From reading the bill and the Ministry of Justice's response to it, it is worth pointing out to all of us some essential and troubling points
1 Granting blanket immunity is inconsistent with the current situation.
Imagine an action that does not fit the values of the service, concerns poor discipline in the best case and a wrongful criminal act in the worst case and will be granted immunity.
2 The duty to investigate is from the foundations of Israeli and international law, we always move in the middle between the execution of the mission and the values of the service, between the personal and group risk and the importance of the action, sometimes the violence required of us.
3 The duty to investigate stands in contrast to blanket immunity and requires us to be careful and considerate every day, the same duty is a significant part of the laws of war which the State of Israel has been grappling with for decades.
4 In a thorough reading, the law proposes an appeals committee authorized to cancel the blanket immunity, but it is not made up of lawyers at all, which adds to the far-reaching change of reality that may cause significant damage to Israeli servants, including Israeli pilots and pilots who make up the majority of the airlines in Israel.
To this day, the prevailing law in Israel is that the state is the one to investigate and decide whether any operational action was carried out in violation of the law, the values of service and discipline.
The Israeli legal duty to investigate is extremely important and displaces the international duty to investigate itself.
The International Court of Justice actually says that the standards of the Israeli courts that investigated the incident satisfy them - and therefore the same international legal protection applies to all of us.
The duty to investigate also sets important moral, value and operational standards for those serving in the security forces in Israel.
in the past and present.
The proposed immunity law may unravel the protection - and even if its intention is to protect the servants, it may create a completely opposite reality and encourage radical bodies to extensive activity.
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Israeli pilots can move freely all over the world today.
If the immunity law is passed, their freedom of movement will be harmed (Photo: ShutterStock)
Israel's air crews, like the fighters of the various units, manage to move around the world.
Now they may face delays due to international search warrants (at best) and even arrests (at worst).
Extreme protest organizations are waiting for the legal situation in Israel to change and will not hesitate to use it and challenge the international court with orders that will affect us all.
Here a thorough understanding and a factual response is required - and this is exactly what we as a professional union intend to hold, together with our colleague, one hundred and forty thousand pilots of the international union.
The separation between the right to protest and the existence of trade unions is sharpening at this time and they have a place in the discourse, perhaps more than ever.
In a matter-of-fact and professional manner, any change in reality must be attacked and its effects on aviation must be understood.
From this we must call on all unions not to stand by, this is not the time for thunderous silence but for hard work, this is not the time to just enjoy important wage agreements that protect workers' conditions, but also to look ahead and worry about their future.
There are many unions in Israel and together it is possible to create a healthy and vigorous discourse, a discussion of important issues for all employees.
Flight and aviation are among the unique international industries in each country, a network based on treaties and agreements, on a common language and similar working assumptions.
Between different regimes similar planes fly, between different countries millions of passengers pass each day, from Istanbul to New York, from Beijing to Damascus.
However, what is done in the country of origin is important and we should not underestimate the consequences that may come from changes in the status quo that allowed us all these for decades.
The proposed immunity law may create a lack of immunity, the intention behind it does not match its results.
Dear passengers, in order for us to continue to serve you all faithfully, and maintain a healthy and advanced aviation in Israel as part of the family of nations,
We must continue to investigate in depth and not hesitate to act by any means at our disposal - and that is quite a lot.
Against anything that will challenge us.
Our uniform combines Israeli past, present and future, we have no intention of allowing all of these to be spoiled.
With such immunity, aviation here might just die.
The weekly column of Midan Bar, chairman of the pilots' union, is published every Friday in Maariv's "Esakim" supplement