Rabbis from the hesder yeshivas warned against shows of protest following the decision to remove the Har Bracha Yeshiva from the arrangement with the IDF. On Monday, the first signs of this protest have appeared, albeit modestly for now.
Soldiers in a reserve battalion who served until recently near the West Bank settlement Avnei Hefetz, left behind a sign thanking the settlers. They signed their message: "We are all students of the Har Bracha Yeshiva."
'We are all Har Bracha students' (Photo: Samaria Settlers' Council)
The soldiers in Battalion 8207 were witness to clashes between the settlers and the Civil Administration inspectors who came to issue building freeze orders to Jewish West Bank residents recently. They wrote on their sign, which they hung on the gate of the settlement: "To our brothers, the heroes, residents of Avnei Hefetz – Thank you for the hospitality! Battalion 8270." Underneath the sign, they signed, "We are all students of the Har Bracha Yeshiva," even though the battalion has no association with the yeshiva whatsoever.
The soldiers' protest comes just one day after hesder yeshiva heads convened for an emergency meeting in which they warned against the implications of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision. "A move like this to remove a yeshiva from the arrangement is grave and has dangerous implications from a national perspective," said Rabbi Chaim Druckman at the meeting.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin recently warned against a potential crisis. At the inauguration of a new seminary in the settlement of Carmel, in South Mount Hebron, he called on Barak to adopt a different solution. "There should be an alliance between the two – I implore the Defense Minister to find an effective and immediate solution to any polemic that might bring big calamities upon us," he said.
In addition, dozens of rabbis serving as educators in hesder yeshivas across the country recently signed a document expressing their support of Har Bracha Yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Melamed.
In their petition, the rabbis declare that faith in God and accepting the mitzvoth are at the basis of cooperation in the State of Israel and that "this loyalty to God, is above all other loyalties, be it to the military or the government."
The decision to remove Har Bracha Yeshiva from the hesder arrangement with the IDF was made after the yeshiva head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, refused to attend a hearing scheduled for Sunday evening at the Defense Ministry. The hearing was called for the yeshiva's unwillingness to condemn insubordination in the military.
The yeshiva refused to issue an official response to the decision, saying they had not been informed of the move, but one of the rabbi's associates said that "he was targeted by the high ranks of command", accusing Barak of thwarting the attempts to hold an honorable dialogue.