The very moral struggle for settlement in Hebron must be undertaken morally
Photo: Yoav Galai

Taking the moral road

At times, refusing orders is an immoral position inconsistent with Jewish law

A person's conscience is a compass that should direct his or her life. A moral and ethical life is the basis of existence and there is nothing that can equal it. Even when Adam was standing before God, he did not give up his conscience, and Bible sages have raised many moral arguments vis-à-vis God: How is it that one person sinned and God is angry at the people as a whole? Why is He who passes judgment on all of earth not hold a trial? Will God be punishing both righteous people and gentiles?


Yet on all occasions where this kind of clash takes place, God has not reprimand or rejected those arguing against Him.


A true man of conscience does not subject himself to any matter that contradicts his conscience. It is obvious that a required condition for this is a fully moral life. Therefore, in the clash between conscience and orders, conscience shall always win, and this is how it should be in a society of moral human beings.


The arguments against insubordination do not dispute this principle, and therefore the argument that a man should not be following orders that contradict his conscience is not a winning argument. This is so because the issue here is the distortion inherent in resorting to a conscience-based argument. After all, when we deal with ethical dilemmas and questions of conscience, usually we're not talking about one question only that is on the agenda, but rather, a whole moral direction.


One can understand that removing people from their home is an unconscious act, but one cannot understand at all how this is the only consideration being weighed.


Why aren't the following questions of conscience asked: What kind of a moral position is it to refuse orders to evict homes, while other soldiers in the unit are called upon to defend us settlers in contradiction of their own conscience, and are being asked to do much graver things, such as killing people?


Why doesn't the duty of obeying one's conscience include within it the basic moral principle of fairness – moral decency requires that when we go to elections and are partners to it, the winning side demands to implement its policy, while the losing side acts with decency to the other side.


The ethical position is that in order to prevent a situation whereby public disagreements are decided through street fights and violent confrontations, they are decided in parliament and in decision-making institutions. And how can we view an attempt to topple State institutions and decision-making authorities as a position that is always moral?


And doesn't the moral position require us to unequivocally come to the defense of a division commander in the army who risks his life in order to defend the people of Hebron and people like me who get to visit it, and is subjected to harsh curses that are not denied, but rather, extended to all soldiers? Why isn't there an unequivocal and unpretentious declaration made that this crosses all moral boundaries? Isn't there a duty to stop before the slippery slope of anarchy?


Keep Hebron struggle moral

Refusing an order as a result a moral position is therefore not necessarily a moral deed. At times, we're talking about a position that undermines morality and conscience, and therefore it is a position that is neither in line with the Torah nor with Jewish law.


The great risk is fact what we continue to see tricking down – that is, violence being legitimized, a growingly undisciplined army, and the undermining of government institutions' status – this is the immoral deed being undertaken these days, and this is unrelated to the question of political folly or the heavy price that refusing orders to be part of the fourth ring of security around the evacuators in Hebron leads to.


Within the moral debate, we must keep practical questions out, and even though there are many arguments against insubordination that stem from the practical aspect and the folly inherent in such insubordination – this is not the matter up for debate. The issue at hand is who is worthy of carrying the flag of conscience and morality!


Precisely because of a moral position based on Jewish law, it is our obligation to save the duty of insubordination to those rare times where this is truly a duty, and to those cases where there is indeed no point to the existence of government institutions if those are the decisions they make.


Insubordination is a worthy deed when we find ourselves in a situation where it's better to topple everything as long as the terrible order does not remain intact. Any other use of this moral principle, and particularly when we're talking about cases that are very far removed from the ones dealt with by various refuseniks, creates two grave injustices: Firstly, it erodes the duty of refusal and deteriorates it into a political manipulations. Secondly, it creates a moral injustice in the face of other considerations on the opposing side of the issue.


Therefore, the weapon or refusal must be taken out of the arsenal of tools used in our very just struggle for getting back the stolen Jewish property in Hebron. This kind of insubordination is a deed whose morality is somewhat distorted and it is being undertaken without genuinely examining the conscience, particularly when this is done as a collective act.


The very moral struggle for settlement in Hebron must be undertaken morally.




פרסום ראשון: 08.16.07, 15:38
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