By Shmuel Sackett
International Director, Manhigut Yehudit
“Get the Jews! Drag them out of their homes! Smash their synagogues! Demolish their businesses! Dig up their graves! Blow up their homes! Make sure they never step foot in this town again!”
If you were a soldier in the American army and these orders came from your commanding officer, would you obey them?
How about the German army? Would you simply “follow orders”?
What about the Israeli army? Would your answer be any different?
This is the terrible dilemma facing our holy Israeli chayalim (soldiers) as Prime Minister Sharon moves closer and closer to an all-out civil war against the brave Jews who live on the south west coast of Israel. That beautiful area is called Gush Katif and, while I do not believe it will ever come to fruition, the latest Israeli dictator is planning the forced expulsion of 2,000 Jewish families during the upcoming summer.
I am not exaggerating at all. Jewish soldiers will be ordered to drag their Jewish brothers out of homes they have lived in for 30 years. longer than most of you have lived in your homes. They will be ordered to smash all 29 shuls, 15 Yeshivas and 13 mikvehs. These young Jewish soldiers will be ordered to dig up Jewish graves. unthinkable!!! Jewish farms, from which you will eat your “bug free” lettuce this Pesach, will be trampled upon and permanently destroyed and Jewish businesses will be demolished.
Believe it or not, many Jews are saying that if this becomes reality (G-d forbid), soldiers must obey these orders! Have you ever heard of such torture? Most of these soldiers are barely 18 and 19. they’re just kids!!! Digging up Jewish graves? Smashing shuls and businesses? Making 8,500 people homeless? He who supports this illegal behavior should be charged with war crimes and he who makes young, innocent kids carry them out should be charged with child abuse.
The argument for listening to orders is that the army is part of the democratically elected Israeli system and however painful it may be, orders must be carried out. Also, “refusing orders will ruin the army”, say IDF loyalists and “we cannot allow that to happen”.
Let the facts speak for themselves. The present Israeli government is NOT a democracy. The people of Israel did not vote for Ariel Sharon. they voted for the Likud party. 60 days prior to the general election, the Likud membership elected Ariel Sharon to head the party and carry out the platform and ideology of Likud. That platform is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. That platform calls for settlement on both sides of the Jordan (that’s right!!!) and that platform is officially opposed to any surrender of Israeli land. Ariel Sharon received the mandate to carry out that platform. not his own!!
Furthermore, when the issue of abandoning Gush Katif came up, Prime Minister Sharon decided to make use of the ultimate democratic tool; a referendum inside the Likud party. “Let the people of Likud decide and I, as their leader, will carry out their wish”, said Sharon. On May 2, 2004 the entire Likud membership voted on this issue and 61% voted against surrendering Gaza to the Arab enemy. Had Israel been a democracy, it would have ended there.
But Sharon is not a democrat, he is a dictator and dictators do not recognize defeat. He immediately organized a vote inside his cabinet making sure to fire all opposing views, namely Ministers Elon, Eitam and Lieberman. Can you imagine George W. Bush doing that? But this was still not enough for Dictator Sharon. Realizing that a “rebel” movement was starting in his own party, he appealed to the Likud Central Committee for permission to bring Shimon Peres’ Labor party into the government. A vote was taken on Rosh Chodesh Elul (Aug 18, 2004) and, once again, Sharon was defeated! Case closed. right? WRONG! Sharon ignored the democratic process and defiantly – and privately – cut a deal with Peres (and then Rav Elyashiv) and 3 months later brought the Haredim and Labor into his government. It must be reiterated that this was done contrary to the wishes of the Likud membership and the Likud Central Committee.
Based on all of this information, does the argument of listening to the army- since it is the arm of the democratically elected government- still apply??? Of course not! The government is run as a dictatorship and the IDF is Sharon’s toy. He has no mandate for his actions.
But what about the second argument, the one that says that refusing orders will ruin the army? Doesn’t that still apply? To answer this, let’s turn the clock back a bit and remember the Lebanon War. During that war, hundreds of leftists refused orders since they did not agree with the fact that the IDF was defending Kiryat Shemona and Metulla (cities in northern Israel) by attacking Beirut and other Lebanese cities, where terrorists were hiding amongst civilians. Many leftists refused orders to serve in Lebanon and they even led violent rallies calling Prime Minister Menachem Begin a war criminal. Those were rough days for the IDF but did it fall apart??? NO! Those who refused to serve sat in jail, as the ones today should, and the army was perfectly fine.
A few short years ago, many leftists started trouble again by saying that they would not serve in Judea and Samaria. They felt that the IDF was mistreating Arab civilians. These Jews could not bare the pain of Arabs waiting at check-points as brave IDF soldiers risked their lives by checking Arab identity cards and making certain they were not wearing explosive belts. Many of these soldiers were killed at these checkpoints. Yet, these leftists felt only the pain of the Arab and not the Jewish mother who buried her 19 year old son. Once again, the IDF had to endure a difficult time yet, once again, it escaped unscathed and as strong as ever.
These same leftists are screaming and hollering that many Jews, myself included, have begun a campaign calling on IDF soldiers to refuse orders when commanded to evacuate Jews from their homes, dig up Jewish graves or demolish shuls and yeshivas. These leftists, and their IDF-is-holier-than-G-d followers, are furious that many leading Rabbis are supporting the refusal idea.
Let me make myself perfectly clear. I served in the IDF and continue to be in the reserves. My son, Gabi, is currently in a combat unit and nothing makes me prouder than seeing him wearing his army uniform complete with tzitzit out, big kippa and even bigger M-16. Every time I see a chayal I thank G-d for the fact that we can now defend ourselves and wonder how much our brothers would have given to have some of those chayalim in Europe 60 years ago.
This is why I am so angry. not at our precious soldiers who risk their lives every day, but at the forces of evil who run the country, as dictators, according to non-Jewish values. These “leaders” expect soldiers, like my son, to follow orders blindly and become sacrifices on the altar of world opinion. I will not allow that to happen. Thank G-d my son received excellent training at home and will never follow orders to uproot fellow Jews. He will pay the price for his disobedience, as I did during my days running Zo Artzeinu when I was sentenced to 12 months in prison for organizing non-violent civil disobedience protests throughout Israel in the early days of Oslo. But my son is not enough. Thousands – and tens of thousands of soldiers – must make their positions clear that they are willing to pay the price of disobedience rather than dig up Jewish graves so Arabs can make room for new ones.
With this in mind, the group I co-founded, Manhigut Yehudit, published a 32 page booklet entitled, “The Duty to Disobey” (Hebrew only). We have already distributed 70,000 copies. Another 100,000 will be printed in the coming days. Our goal is to show IDF soldiers that if they really love the army and the State, then illegal and anti-Jewish orders such as these must not be carried out.
With G-d’s help, these horrific orders will never be given and our holy soldiers will never be put into this difficult predicament. Furthermore, very soon, the existing Israeli dictatorship government will be changed to one that truly represents the dreams of the people and their desire to become a light unto the nations! For more information about making this a reality, see our website: www.jewishisrael.org