Evacuating Hebron settlers
Photo: Yoav Galai
A little common sense
Army should not be forcing right-wing troops to evacuate Jews

We all have children in the army (except for those who don't have any,) and each parent has the right to argue that "I didn't send my child to the army for this." Not to uproot Jews, not to occupy Arabs, not to pick oranges.


Every father has his own private and ideological "I didn't send him to the army for this." Yet the army is not a pick and choose program and soldiers can't serve as they wish. Soldiers are not the envoys of their parents, but rather, they serve on behalf of the State.


If there is no discipline there is no army, and just punishment for insubordination does not relieve them of their lack of responsibility.


And here comes the "but." But - beyond this realization, the army and its commanders should exercise common sense and reason. If two families must be evacuated from Hebron, the army doesn't really have to use soldiers likely to refuse orders. An army that knows how to easily release those posing as psychos can easily release soldiers - who usually volunteer for every military assignment - from evacuating Jews.


Yet the army, just like the army, is often foolish and dogmatic. It appears that its commanders have read far too many books on civics and command instead of looking reality in the eye.


Our reality is that field units are comprised of masses of religious and right-wing soldiers. The crisis and dispute among this public following the uprooting of Gush Katif in exchange for naught makes many young soldiers feel that they are blindly given any uprooting assignment. We don’t have soldiers for unnecessary evacuations, whether it's a large-scale evacuation as in Gush Katif or a small one as in Hebron.


New post-disengagement reality

This is not about soldiers "who adhere to rabbis instead of to military orders." It is not a divine decree or a rabbinical one that prompts them to refuse, but rather, the sense that the State is using their good will for inappropriate purposes - as though they were the executing contractors of left-wing decisions.


They can be dismissed from the army, and they can be relieved of their duties (wow – half the population will say – what a punishment! Not to serve in a combat unit! Can I too?!) It is even permissible to express journalistic outrage at the humiliation of the Duchifat battalion, as it occurred on Channel 10 TV by those who served in illustrious military units where soldiers fall in the line of duty.


Yet it should be noted that we do not have any other soldiers. If these fine and dedicated combat troops do not want to evacuate two families in Hebron, the army should find a way to use soldiers who are willing to do the dirty work.


This is indeed unpleasant and inappropriate and perhaps even undemocratic, and the rabbis are not really in order either, yet this is the new reality after the disengagement of Gush Katif.


True, there are no free disengagements. Even the insubordination in Hebron is part of the cost.


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