"Those who sanctified the name of the heavens deserve the utmost respect and appreciation. I have no doubt that if today there are dozens of soldiers who refuse orders, in another situation – of expulsion – there will hundreds or more," declared Rabbi Dov Lior, chairman of the Yesha rabbinical council, at the ceremony.
The ceremony was organized by the World Committee for the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, at the David Hall in Jerusalem, under the title: "Citation ceremony for the prisoners of Zion – the brave soldiers who refused to expel Jews from Hebron, the city of our fathers."
The families were given a monetary reward and a certificate of recognition for having refused to collaborate in the evacuation of the market. The ceremony was originally scheduled for last Sunday, simultaneous with the official IDF citations ceremony, but was postponed after families objected.
The certificate given to the refusers said: "This is to certify that the prisoner of Zion soldier obeyed the laws of our holy Torah, refused clearly illegal orders and did not participate in the criminal act of expelling Jews from their homes in the city of our fathers, Hebron, and therefore is deserving of the title 'Hero of Israel'.
"Your act conforms to the oath you took the day you were conscripted. You strengthened the army, with human dignity and freedom; you exhibited supreme courage which will serve as a symbol and feat to your peers and will be written in the golden pages of Jewish heroism in our country."
In light of Rosh Hashana, the organizers blessed the upcoming year as "a year of Hebron refusers".
'Swear to protect'
Committee chairman Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo read aloud a religious edict: "There is clearly no doubt: A Jewish soldier cannot clear an empty Jewish home, and certainly not a Jewish home full of the Land of Israel, and if he receives such an order he must refuse it."
According to the rabbi, "When a soldier joins the army he is taken to the Western Wall, he swears to protect the State of Israel and the nation of Israel, and if a commander orders him to expel a Jew he violates what he has sworn to."
He called on the public to adopt the saying "May this evil government pass from the land" for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Various rabbis and right-wing activists were present at the event, including notorious right-wing activists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Nadia Matar as well as representatives of Homesh First.
Addressing the audience, Rabbi Dov Lior declared: "I have no doubt that if today there are dozens of soldiers who refuse orders, in another situation – an expulsion – there will hundreds or more."
"Congratulations to the youths and to the parents who raised such boys that live in torment, who are willing to serve in jail, instead of boys that go to discotheques and stab each other," he said.