Prominent Religious Zionist Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu reversed a controversial position he stated last week and permitted followers to block traffic to protest the disengagement plan, provided drivers can reach their destinations using alternate routes.
He also repeated his position that Jewish law forbids the evacuation of parts of the Land of Israel, and called the so-called unilateral disengagement program “vile.”
'We don't want to dismantle IDF'
Eliyahu also clarified his position regarding military insubordination, saying IDF soldiers should ask to be excused from duty in order to avoid violating what he says is a religious commandment.
“Many reserve soldiers are released from duty for various reasons, they should certainly be released from participating in such a vile act,” he said. “Soldiers must request to be released from reserve duty, and not contribute (to the pullout) directly or indirectly.”
As for conscripted soldiers, he said, “If they are forced to participate in the evacuation, they should enter the settlers’ homes, sit on the floor, and cry with the family.”
When asked why he has not called directly for insubordination, Eliyahu said, “We do not want to dismantle an army that protects the lives of Israeli citizens, and therefore we are not calling for insubordination. We are just saying we can’t (participate in the pullout).
Last, week, Mordechai was quoted as saying soldiers should not refuse evacuation orders.
Fury in the ranks
In the past, Eliyahu, a former chief rabbi, has referred to the pullout as an “illegal (military) order,” but he created a storm within the anti-pullout movement last week by ruling that traffic-blocking demonstrations and military insubordination are forbidden. Later he retracted, saying road blocking is permitted if drivers have an alternate traffic route, but his followers demanded further clarifications.
He also said that protesters who are sentenced to prison terms should consider their sentences a “privilege,” saying the sentences were a “reward” for those who remain faithful to the Torah."