Peres: Ben-Gurion wanted united army
In ceremony honoring Israel's first prime minister, President Peres, PM Netanyahu speak out against insubordination in military. 'Ben-Gurion wanted one army, which is subordinate to elected government," Peres says. Netanyahu vows to 'fight disobedience with all means available'
"Ben-Gurion wanted one army, without division. An army that is subordinate to the elected government, an army that is daring, and an army that is alert," President Shimon Peres said on Monday, honoring the State's founder, David Ben-Gurion on the 36th anniversary of his death.
In a ceremony at his grave in the Sde Boker National Park, the president addressed the problem of political insubordination in the military. His comments came following recent incidents in the Kfir Brigade, when soldiers carried signs against the evacuation of Jews in settlements.
"Ben-Gurion did not want the people divided. The parties – yes, but he wanted them to respect the democratic sovereignty. Freedom of opinion and unity in action.
"Only one army, without division. An army that is subordinate to the elected government, an army that is daring, and an army that is alert. An army of the entire people, under one authority."
Peres urged the Netanyahu government to end the conflict with the Palestinians, even if it requires painful concessions. "We could be just one step away from ending the conflict with the Palestinians. The current government could, and must do this.
"The painful solution of dividing the land into two states was taken up by Ben-Gurion, and today, this is a truth that is acceptable by most of the people," he said.
Peres also commented on the Iranian threat, and said calls for Israel's destruction should not be ignored. "I an trying to think like Ben-Gurion and say: This threat should be taken seriously and we should work with other peoples to eliminate it. The enriched uranium is dangerous because of the poor morals of those who hold it," he said.
"Ahmadinejad seeks to destroy a people and denies the Holocaust. His ambition is to dominate the Muslim world by force, by schemes and by terror. He speaks not of the future – and he will have no future. He will fall, his people will topple him, and the world cannot make peace with his policies. We have over come such things in the past and so we will in the future."
PM: We will fight disobediencePrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke at the ceremony, and commented on the problem of insubordination, saying, "One of the concepts posed by Ben-Gurion is the idea of the IDF as a state military, and today we should go back to his path.
"There are no ideological camps in the army; there is no external chain of command. There is no place for disobedience – we will fight it with all the force and means at our disposal. It's in our soul, it's an existential need," Netanyahu said, adding, "There is one IDF and a command hierarchy. So it has been, and so it shall remain."
Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak also called for a war on political insubordination in the military. "A state that seeks to survive must use an iron fist to put an end to insubordination from both the Left and Right," he said during a closed-door discussion on the issue Saturday.
The defense minister is expected to meet with intelligence and law enforcement officials this week in order to discuss ways to deal with insubordination in the army.