Bibi an outcast in his own family?Naftali Bennett phenomenon.
Mish’al’s question: “what would you do as a soldier if you were told to evacuate Jews from their homes.” Bennett answered that he would be incapable of carrying out such an assignment in good conscience, and would ask his commander to be excused from it.
Well, that unleashed a torrent of criticism that Bennett was inciting refusal, which would cause anarchy, provoke a civil war and lead to the destruction of the Jewish state and an end to the Zionist dream – all, probably, within a few minutes of each other. When Bennett insisted he was not calling for refusal but conscientious objection – and reiterated that several times – the distinction was lost on his interviewer, the panel, and the gaggle of squealing politicians across the landscape who immediately heaped abuse upon him.
Shame on them, and not only because anarchy, civil war and self-destruction will result from further expulsions of Jews and not because of the conscientious objection of soldiers who joined the IDF to defend Jews rather than persecute them, but rather because the nuance of Bennett’s reasonable response was either intentionally or unintentionally missed in the intense atmosphere of the program and the campaign.
On a practical level, soldiers have frequently opted out of participating in these violent acts against fellow Jews; that is why one rarely sees a kipa-wearing soldier among the expelling forces either in Gush Katif or some outposts in Judea and Samaria. Intelligent commanders have respected that and not placed their soldiers in the awkward positions of having to expel their parents and friends from their homes.
And there is a profound difference between conscientious objection and insubordination. A refusal of orders challenges the authority of the entity that gave the order, and delegitimizes it; a conscientious objection accepts the legitimacy of the order, but declares that that recipient of the order, on a personal level, is unable to carry it out and wishes to be excused. That distinction should be patently clear, even in the heart of an obsessive election season, but for the barefaced hypocrisy that abounds.
How reasonable is conscientious objection, aside from the fact that every military among the world’s functioning democracies recognizes it? No less an “authority” than Ariel Sharon said on July 13, 1995 that a soldier who is called upon the act against his conscience (and he meant the expulsion of Jews from their homes) “should turn to his commander personally, say that he cannot carry out such an order, and pay the price for it.” That Sharon later changed his opinion, among other changes in his life, should be attributed to nothing less than crass politics. A 2004 proclamation calling the expulsion of Jews “ethnic cleansing” and a “crime against humanity,” and imploring the government not to issue such orders and for the soldiers to “listen to the voice of their consciences – national and human – and not participate in activities that will stain them,” was signed by hundreds of prominent Israelis from across the political and religious spectrum – including Benzion Netanyahu (the PM’s late father), Shmuel ben Arzi (the PM’s late father-in-law) and Ido Netanyahu, the PM’s brother. Yet, PM Netanyahu chose here to excoriate Bennett.
Was Bennett’s statement so extreme? On the contrary, it was reasoned, principled, moral and just – none of which have anything in the slightest to do with politics, and hence the ferocious and contrived overreaction. Bennett’s response – read and heard unfiltered, and without the caustic, duplicitous commentary of the chattering classes and their political patrons – struck the electorate as so balanced and decent that, almost immediately, Habayit Hayehudi gained several seats in the polls, and so the issue was dropped, sure to re-surface in distorted form and at a time and place when Bennett cannot respond adequately.Read the whole thing.
I find it curious that the one type of Jew to whom Bennett is not making any effort to appeal is the Haredi Jew. Even the Likud has a Haredi division. Why not Jewish Home?