Hebron market evacuation
Photo: Yoav Galai
Kibbutzniks, rabbis slam refuseniks
Rabbis belonging to association which founded haredi Nahal Battalion threaten to prevent enlistment of national religious troops if right-wing leaders try to convince them to refuse orders. Kibbutz Movement calls on youth to join field units whose soldiers refused orders
The refusal of religious soldiers to take part in the evacuation of two Jewish families from the Hebron wholesale market on Tuesday has led to a rare agreement between the founders of the haredi Nahal Battalion and heads of the Kibbutz Movement.


Rabbis from the Netzach Yehuda association, which founded the haredi Nahal Battalion, harshly criticized the attempts of right-wing leaders to convince the battalion's troops to refuse the order to take part in the Hebron evacuation.


The rabbis threatened to prevent the enlistment of national religious soldiers to the battalion if right-wing elements continue to take advantage of the troops and influence them to refuse orders.


The threats were made on the backdrop of claims that right-wing elements telephoned national religious soldiers and tried to convince them to refuse orders. The association's rabbis who heard about the calls rushed to the base, where they spoke to the soldiers and convinced them to carry out their missions.


"The haredi Nahal project has become a consensus and unites all parts of the nation," said Rabbi Zvi Klebanow, the association's director.


"We proved that combat service can be combined with a haredi atmosphere, without one coming on the expense of the other. We won't let people with personal interests damage this holy project, which has enlisted more than 2,000 soldiers so far."


The haredi Nahal Battalion has unique religious rights, aimed at allowing haredi and national religious soldiers to serve under conditions accepted by their rabbis. Girls do not serve in the battalion's bases, soldiers receive strictly kosher food, and Torah lessons and prayers are part of the battalion's daily routine.


"The situation in which political elements in the Right take advantage of the privilege given to a small number of national religious soldiers to serve in a battalion of haredi troops is intolerable," A Netzach Yehuda rabbi said.


'Kibbutzniks can make a difference'

Meanwhile, heads of the Kibbutz Movement on Tuesday also launched a war on refuseniks, calling on kibbutz youth to join not only elite units but also field units operating in the territories, whose soldiers have refused to obey orders.


According to the movement heads, kibbutz youths should "get their hands dirty" in hard work.


"We must be present in the difficult and problematic places," said Yoel Marshak, head of the Kibbutz Movement`s Special Assignments Division.


"We must be with the soldiers in the areas of friction, where the refusal phenomenon is put to a test, deal with the difficulties and not leave them for other soldiers.


"We must provide an answer to the rabbis' call to refuse orders," Marshak added. "The kibbutzniks will lead the soldiers in places with low motivation, in places where less people want to enlist to the army and in places where the rabbi calls to refuse orders.


"We believe in a Zionist and democratic state. We have one commander, not two, and if we are there we can make a difference."


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