Hershkowitz: Closing yeshiva disastrous
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, chairman of the Habayit Hayehudi party, sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak Monday in which he protests an appeal to close down the Har Bracha yeshiva because its rabbis preached insubordination in the army.
"The closing down of a yeshiva may fan the flames of this dangerous phenomenon and have disastrous effects on the IDF and the state of Israel," Hershkowitz wrote in his letter.
He warned that shutting down the school run by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed may be heeded as a call to arms by right-wing activists. "This may encourage them to support the position of insubordination," he said.
Rabbis must clearly condemn recent cases of religious insubordination
Hershkowitz claims that support of insubordination had already been sounded numerous times on Army Radio.
"Even the IDF's Army Radio has interviewed various people who support insubordination from the Left and even Hamas operatives, and no one thought to shut them down for this," he wrote.
The minister urged Barak to deal with disobedience in the IDF through use of law enforcement and education rather than "military trials".
"I believe those who support insubordination should be brought to justice, but not through the use of sanctions," he said.
Recently the state has been called upon by various IDF officials to shut down Melamed's yeshiva. On Sunday GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi said he had recommended to the IDF chief of staff that the yeshiva be shut down due to the rabbi's various statements.
Meanwhile, a source with the hesder yeshivas said the IDF stood to lose "hundreds of dedicated combat soldiers" if it canceled its accord with the yeshivas. The source told Ynet Rabbi Melamed was working to enlist many religious-Zionist teens who had considered evading service due to recent developments.