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Recruits protest evacuation
Photo: Miri Tzach, courtesy of Homesh First
Wallerstein. Aginast factionalism
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rabbi calls on Yesha Council head to resign
Dispute erupts among settlers after Yesha Council Chairman Pinchas Wallerstein condemns IDF recruits who raised signs against settlement evacuation during oath taking ceremony
A dispute has erupted among settlers over an incident which took place at the Western Wall on Thursday evening, in which several Israel Defense Forces recruits raised signs against the evacuation of settlements during their oath taking ceremony.

 

Yesha Council Chairman Pinchas Wallerstein condemned the soldiers' actions on Friday. "Because I believe the IDF should not be involved in the evacuation of outposts," he told Ynet, "I think that no element of factionalism must be brought into the army, as this may crush the life fabric in the Israeli society. Therefore, this must be eradicated."

 

Following these remarks, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of the settlement of Elon Moreh called on Wallerstein to resign. He threatened that if Wallerstein failed to do so, he himself would resign from the Yesha Council.

 

"I call on every soldier to voice his opinions in public," Rabbi Elyakim said. "Clear ideological saying by soldiers are a clear sign of the general public feeling against any expulsion of Jews from their home.

 

"I strongly condemn the bad use Pinchas Wallerstein is making of the title of Yesh Council director. Wallerstein is taking advantage of his status in a disgraceful manner, even though he knows that his opinion is an insignificant minority opinion in the Yesha Council."

 

Wallerstein was unavailable for comment.

 

The IDF views Thursday's incident as severe. "Raising the sign will being sworn in was a miserable and inappropriate act," a military source told Ynet. "It's a shame that radical elements took advantage of this event to drag the soldiers into the political discourse."

 

The SOS Israel extreme right-wing organization, led by Rabbi Dov Wolpe, announced Friday morning that it would reward the protesting soldiers with thousands of shekels.

 

"They gave a lesson in democracy and their conduct was exemplary in their legitimate protest," Rabbi Wolpe told Ynet. "The soldiers who acted this way are working to remove the IDF from disagreements which are tearing the army and causing a rift among the people. The IDF's role is to unite the people, not tear it apart."

 

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