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Monday, August 13, 2007

IDF still systematically excluding some 'disengagement' protesters

The IDF is still systematically excluding some 'disengagement' protesters from its ranks according to a report in the Jerusalem Post:
A., one of the hesder students who has yet to be cleared for IDF service, told The Jerusalem Post he had been placed in the reject list because he forced his way into a large gathering of people and held a sign in orange letters - the color of the Gaza Coast Regional Council that symbolized the anti-disengagement struggle - that read: "A Jew does not expel another Jew."

A. said he was interrogated last week by a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) official. According to A., the questions focused on his ideological beliefs vis-à-vis army service.

"He asked me what my opinions were about refusing orders," said A. "He wanted to know if I was fully aware of the danger involved with refusing orders, that it could tear apart the IDF.

"I told him I was sure that I would never evacuate settlements, no matter what. I told him that while I thought in theory that evacuating settlements might be logical, my conscience would not allow me to perform such an act."

A. is scheduled to meet with an IDF psychologist in two months.

A.'s father told the Post his son's plight was all the more maddening considering the ongoing rise in the number of draft dodgers.

R., 19, said Sunday he had been trying to join the army for a year and a half, and that the IDF had not given him any reason why his request had been rejected.

His mother said she "was at her wit's end that even if the IDF were to come tomorrow and say my son could enlist in the army, what about the year and a half of uncertainty that he was forced to suffer through, without even being told what his crime was. And even if he's enlisted, who knows whether the Shabak [Shin Bet] won't continue to follow him clandestinely."

R. said he was involved in demonstrations during disengagement, but had not fought with anyone.

The army's role in the unilateral pullout and evacuation of 25 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria dealt a serious blow to the IDF's relationship with those who identify with religious Zionism. This sector views the settling of the Land of Israel by Jews as a God-given commandment that will set the stage for the imminent final redemption promised at the end of days. Territorial compromise and the dismantling of settlements are viewed as both a physical and a spiritual retreat.

Rabbinic leadership and grassroots sentiment in the religious Zionist camp opposed using the IDF to evacuate Jewish settlements. For religious Zionists, the raison d'etre of the IDF and its justification for the use of force are restricted to protecting Jews and advancing Jewish sovereignty. [Amazing, isn't it, that it's now only the 'religious Zionists' who believe that's how the IDF ought to be used. That used to be the position of David Ben Gurion, among others. How the mighty have fallen. CiJ]

In the months that led up to disengagement, perhaps thousands of religious Zionists took to the streets to protest. Some demonstrators blocked roads, burned tires and grappled with law enforcement officers.

High-school-age protesters who were arrested for their anti-disengagement activities were disqualified from military service. The Shin Bet's Jewish Department also tracked these activists and blackballed them. [But 'students' who block streets and intersections in Tel Aviv to protest increases in their tuition are not arrested and are not blackballed from the army. CiJ]

Many of these young men did not discover that they had been disqualified from IDF service until a year or two later when they reached draft age and began the enlistment process. The IDF does not notify these young men of the issue even after they apply to be recruited, according to hesder sources.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 religious Zionist high school graduates enlist in the IDF every year. They join combat units, especially the infantry, at disproportionately high levels. A high percentage go on to fill low- and mid-level command positions.

During disengagement, the vast majority of religious Zionist soldiers obeyed evacuation orders. However, the IDF is concerned that there has recently been a move toward a more hard-line position.

Profiling young religious Zionist men is one of the techniques the IDF uses to limit the number of soldiers who, like A., openly admit that they will not follow orders to remove Jews from their homes.
But of course, the IDF does not profile or refuse to draft young men who support the activities of Gush Shalom and actively (or passively) avoid serving in the 'territories.'

Some of you may ask why the double standard. Those of us who live in Israel know way: Because the branja still control the country.


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