This isn't the first time I am asked to write about refuseniks, and it probably isn't the last time either. Over time, I have learned that there is no real difference between those who refuse on the left and those who refuse on the right. The excuses are different, the pattern of action is similar.
If you rummage deep enough, you'll discover that behind every refusenik who receives a lot of media attention, there is an activist which understands how the media work. There are few people whose conscience dictates the decision. It's usually the newspaper headline which dictates the words and the timing.
The link between a certain unit's name and a political protest stems from the same approach. Not because of the actual interest, but simply in order to create interest. Politics sponsored by confused explanations about conscientious problems.
Unit 8200 has outstanding people with diverse political views. This is part of what characterizes an army of a democratic state. When we talk about reserve service, the democratic identity is emphasized.
In the army I have known for the past 20 years, there are rightists and leftists who criticize the state and fight for it with the same strength. The political dispute grinds to a halt when they don their uniform.
After the Kfar Kassem events on October 29, 1956, Judge Benjamin Halevy coined the phrase "a blatantly illegal order." The IDF teaches soldiers that there are times in which they must stop. When a soldier stops where he doesn’t have to, he is simply a criminal violating a command.
The current refuseniks' letter isn't violating any order, neither legal nor illegal. They won't pay a price. That's the case with the courage to refuse from afar.
The letter is a declarative gimmick, marginal politics which means "we are not part of the game."
Isn't it absurd that those who are now defending their right to promote insubordination are the same people who will cry out in the name of democracy against soldiers refusing to evacuate a caravan from some Samaria hill? Those who waive the right to influence from within the system in the name of insubordination are the same people who will complain that the army is becoming too rightist or too religious.
And what about me? I am afraid of an army in which everyone holds the same political view because others have given up.
And I am mainly afraid of small political activists who don’t give a damn about anything, and are burning down the house which used to be theirs for the sake of a gimmick.