Defense Minister Ehud Barak. IDF not for political debate
Photo: AFP
Against evacuation. The IDF induction ceremony
Photo: Miri Tzahi, courtesy of Homesh First

Barak says new recruits' protest damaged IDF

Defense minister issues harsh condemnation of political act of protest undertaken by Shimshon Battalion soldiers and their families at induction ceremony, says, 'Defense establishment will not allow this kind of activity that destroys democracy and is likely to create rifts'

"An abnormal event that damaged the IDF and the State whose place will not be honored in the military establishment" – this is how Defense Minister Ehud Barak defined last week's event during which new recruits waived banners against the evacuation of West Bank settlement Homesh during their swearing-in ceremony.


"Last Thursday, the traditional swearing-in ceremony was held at the Western Wall," recounted Barak during a speech before the Knesset. "Two new recruits waived a banner of a political nature. The defense establishment will not allow this kind of activity. The soldiers were sentenced to 20 days in military prison and were permanently expelled from the unit."


"I view this event with severity," said the defense minister. "We will not allow the IDF and its commanders to be used to advance a political position. This is a serious event that ruins democracy. Such acts are likely to create a rift in the nation. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a democratic state. Soldiers are citizens and, as such, they have political opinions. Soldiers who wish to express their position have the right to participate in elections, but I call upon everyone to show national responsibility."


"The IDF is not to be involved in the political discourse, including on issues of evacuation. We have one IDF. All of our children serve in it in all of its positions. We cannot allow ourselves to repeat events such as this one," explained Barak.


"The IDF acted and will act within the framework of the law, and from here we draw our authority and our strength," concluded the defense minister. He called upon the members of Knesset "to honor this principle and to give it full support."


In response to calls to hold a special session on the issue in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said: "I do not think that such a discussion will be of any help to the IDF."


פרסום ראשון: 10.28.09, 15:47
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