Red Lines for the Orange Rebellion

Religious Zionism is not fighting for Gush Katif now. It knows that Gush Katif is lost. Religious Zionism is now fighting for its very existence.

The anticipation of seeing Ariel Sharon beat the settlers with cudgels is inflaming the passions. The anticipation of seeing the occupation thugs break the messianic settlers' neck is exciting many people. This is why verbal violence is rampant. This is why incitement and hypocrisy are rising to unprecedented heights.

Those who preached refusal only a minute and a half ago now pledge complete obedience. Those who broke the law that prohibited meetings with the PLO are now demanding brutal enforcement of the law. Thus, as the disengagement date draws closer, the clearer it becomes that Israel does not have a democratic elite.

There are no rules of the game, because this summer it is clear that there are no referees and no linesmen. Everyone is a player. Everyone is orange or blue. Everyone is going for each other's throats like uninhibited, shameless mud-wrestlers.

And yet, in the big fracas, in the public celebration of norm-trampling and law-breaking, the wavers of orange flags bear a special responsibility. Precisely because the orange rebellion emerges from a deep pain, its leaders must curb it. Precisely because it derives from a real sense of disaster, its leaders must stop it. After letting the orange lava erupt, the religious-Zionist leaders must set two red lines, which their public must never cross in any circumstances.

The first red line is refusal. Rabbi Avraham Shapira called openly to disobey (evacuation) orders. Some leaders of hesder yeshivas issued indirect refusal rulings. Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu instructed observant soldiers who are ordered to evacuate settlers to enter the evacuated family's house, sit on the floor and weep with the family. These calls, rulings and instructions are tantamount to rebellion against the government. They cross the line that separates a legitimate ideological struggle from the forbidden act of mutiny. They constitute a direct uprising against Israeli democracy and can endanger Jewish solidarity.

Therefore, despite the huge difficulty, the leaders of the orange rebellion must openly state their opposition to these calls. They must make it clear that refusal, either overt or covert, is not an option. When the moment comes, despite its cruelty, the religious Zionist officers and soldiers must prove that they are first of all officers and soldiers of the Israeli state. They must carry out the evacuation assignment fully and completely. They have a right to shed a tear, to feel that their heart is tearing apart, to feel subjected to a terrible injustice. But they must carry out the mission and implement the state's decision.

The second red line is incitement. In recent months, the orange discourse has seriously deteriorated. After the parliamentary campaign of the anti-disengagement camp failed, after Ariel Sharon managed to defeat the Yesha lobby in the Likud institutions and the Knesset, the orange public began to look upon the prime minister as a tyrant. In the massive crowds of Kfar Maimon and this week's rallies in Sderot and Ofakim, this attitude became a plague: Sharon was assailed as a dictator, a bitter enemy, Stalin.

Yesha Council leaders must understand that assassination may be the most serious threat to the country during the next month. It is not inconceivable that the first Jewish suicide bomber could break through the Shin Bet's protective ring and blow himself up near the prime minister. Even if such an attempt failed, it would be one of the biggest disasters in our history. Israel could not survive the trauma of a second murdered prime minister. Israel could not survive the repeated trauma of religious people assassinating democracy, enlightenment and another bid to end the occupation.

The settlers' leaders are not among the fanatics who invoked the pulsa denura death curse against the prime minister. They are not delusional or violent. Even in this difficult time, they are doing their best to prevent bloodshed. But their anti-government rhetoric has gone out of control. Their calling an elected prime minister a corrupt tyrant is explicitly permitting people to kill him. So if a second Yigal Amir does burst forth from the fringes, the settlers' leaders would not be able to claim innocence. They will not be exonerated.

Religious Zionism is not fighting for Gush Katif now. It knows that Gush Katif is lost. Religious Zionism is now fighting for its very existence. But this is precisely why its leaders must stop the rampant epidemic of refusal and incitement among their people. They must learn from the conduct of Menachem Begin in the Altalena affair and Yigal Allon during the dismantling of the Palmach. At the end of the orange rebellion, the orange people must bow their heads to the sovereign state of Israel.