The refusal by 12 soldiers of the Duchifat Battalion to participate in evacuating the two families from the buildings they invaded in Hebron's market was received by the Israeli public as yet another expression of refusal on ideological grounds. But that is not the case here.
Israeli society, with a large measure of innocence and naivete, understood the incident as an expression of the young soldiers' sincere vacillation between the duty to carry out a military order and their own conscience. The truth of the matter is that we are not talking here about the refusal to carry out orders on the part of young soldiers, but rather about a much more serious, deep-seated and dangerous phenomenon.
We are facing an organized, calculated attempt at sedition, pure and simple. In effect, it is a conspiracy to chip away at and destroy the ability of the Israel Defense Forces to fulfill its purpose and mission as a people's army in a democratic state. In other words, what we are dealing with is an effort to prevent the IDF from being the long arm of the lawful, legitimate government and carrying out any task assigned by the elected leadership of the state. It is essential that Israeli society understand what it is facing, because only then can it take the actions necessary to avert the plot.
There is a small but well-organized group of extremists, led by a few zealous rabbis, that has resolved to prevent the evacuation of Jewish communities in the territories at any cost. These people have no "red lines" and are scornful of the democratic process. They use ambiguous language when dealing with outsiders, but among themselves they do not conceal their true intent. These people would not hesitate to use violence - indeed, we have already witnessed the assassination of a prime minister - although it is clear that in the event of physical violence, the majority would defend itself and at the end of the day they would be subdued. That is why they have looked for an alternative means.
The conclusion they drew from the evacuations of Yamit and Gush Katif was that as long as the IDF is subordinate to the government and faithfully executes the orders issued by the political leadership, there is no possibility of thwarting the democratic will of the people. Therefore, discipline within the IDF must be eroded, using incitement, bribery and scaremongering, until the army loses its operational abilities.
Last week in Hebron we witnessed a clear-cut example of this dangerous trend. This was not a refusal to dismantle settlements or to transfer part of the homeland to foreign rule, but rather a refusal to evict squatters from stores owned by someone else. The soldiers were not asked to take part in the evacuation itself, only to relieve Border Police officers in routine security operations. So why the refusal to carry out orders?
The answer is that the issue is not one of individual conscious objection, but rather the fruit of incitement to insubordination and sedition. The fathers of these soldiers came to their army base to incite their sons against the army. We even saw one father who attempted to forcibly prevent other soldiers from setting out on their mission. What has become of us?
As part of their efforts to weaken the IDF, these people make use of slogans and baseless claims. It is ludicrous to hear from people living in settlements that the IDF is not supposed to engage in policing activity when for years most of the army's energies have been dedicated to exactly that - protecting small, isolated settlements and unauthorized outposts. Or that the army is not supposed to take action against civilians, when there is no democratic country in the world in which the army does not engage with civilians, whether to control demonstrations, break strikes or enforce court orders.
Most serious of all, however, is the intentional, organized harassment of IDF commanders and officers - using curses, ostracism and extreme incitement - sometimes extending to members of their families. The extremists involved in this are willing to sacrifice the State of Israel on the altar of the Land of Israel. If, God forbid, they succeed, we will be left without either one, as we were after the destruction of the Second Temple. The State of Israel has the power to stop them, and should do so sooner rather than later.
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