Yossi Beilin: The IDF's Hesder Yeshivas Should Be Dismantled

Meretz-Yahad chairman says separate units for religious soldiers form 'an army within an army.'

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Chairman of the Meretz-Yahad party Yossi Beilin said Thursday that the chasm in Israeli society over the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip brings up the gravity of the problem of yeshivas for soldiers wishing to combine military service with religious studies, called hesder yeshivas.

According to Beilin, Israeli society is now paying the price for establishing separate army units for religious soldiers, which constitute an army within the army and adhere to rabbinical instructions instead of being an integral part of the army.

"Recent statements by rabbis and the incredible demand to exempt en-masse religious soldiers from carrying out settlement evacuation requires of the Israel Defense Forces to take an immediate decision and dismantle these autonomous units and allocate religious soldiers to other units," Beilin said.

Shinui party Chairman MK Yosef Lapid said in the same matter "if religious soldiers shouldn't participate in the evacuation of Gush Katif then secular soldiers should not guard religious settlements and if we go down this road we will create an irreparable chasm in our society."

In response to a call on officers and soldiers to refuse evacuation orders issued by an organization called Jewish Heart, Lapid said police must arrest those behind the incitement to violate Knesset and government decisions.



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