Hesder Yeshivot Association Chairman Rabbi Haim Drukman is to publish a clarification on Wednesday stating he does not support insubordination in the military.
The decision came following a secret meeting held between Drukman and Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office Eyal Gabai. The two agreed that Drukman would not instruct his students to refuse orders during settlement evacuation.
Nonetheless, Drukman stressed that there are times when a soldier cannot carry out an order that goes against his conscience and his beliefs, "just as one cannot carry a heavy load with a broken arm." He said this is not a matter of "disobedience" - a term that negates the legitimacy of an order.
Drukman and Gabai's meeting was held as part of efforts to overturn Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to cancel the arrangement with the Har Bracha Yeshiva.
The Hesder Yeshivot Association's spokesperson, Rabbi David Stav, who was also at the meeting, said that Drukman had wished to clarify his remarks, which he believes were misunderstood.
The Prime Minister's Office, however, said it was Gabai that raised the issue and asked for an explanation from the rabbi. The PMO reported that Drukman said he objects to refusing orders and that he vowed to clarify his position on all channels.
Gabai said in response, "In my opinion, the refusal of any order is unacceptable and cannot be part of the legitimate debate."
Regarding the severed ties with Har Bracha and the conflict between its head Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and Barak, possible compromises were examined in the meeting in hopes of renewing relations between the IDF and the yeshiva. It was decided that Drukman and Gabai are to meet again next week.
Since the affair broke out, heads of the Hesder Yeshivot Association have been seeking ways to bypass the defense minister and solve the crisis through political means.
In recent weeks they met with a number of ministers and MKs, and this is the first time one of the association's heads gets a meeting in the Prime Minister's Office with one of Netanyahu's representatives.
Rabbi's previous remarks
Following tension between the Defense Ministry and the hesder yeshivot, Drukman earlier spoke out on insubordination and said settlements must not be evacuation.
In an interview to the Olam Katan (small world) leaflet, which is distributed in synagogues, Drukman said, "I tell the students to first of all request in an orderly fashion to be exempt from the task without causing an uproar.
"But if they are eventually pushed into a corner and are not relieved, then there is no choice. If it is something that is forbidden – like evacuating settlements to hand them over to enemies, as in Gush Katif - this unequivocally must not be done."
Drukman further noted that, "I certainly hope very much that it doesn't come to that. Especially after the trauma of Gush Katif, in which it became clear after the act that even those who supported it believe it contributed nothing and only brought on more trouble. I hope we have the sense to make sure we never repeat such acts under any circumstances."
The rabbi stressed that he stands behind his words. "I am not hiding this. The military certainly is of value because it protects the people of Israel and the land of Israel, and the army has a supreme value because it is a mitzvah from the Torah.
"The military itself also ruled that in matters pertaining to lifestyle according to the Torah, a soldier cannot be ordered to do something against it. It can be claimed that this is not clear enough, but in my opinion, any other statement is incorrect."
Roni Sofer contributed to this report