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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

IDF wheels of 'justice' turn swiftly

As a lawyer, albeit not a litigator, I always believe that if a trial is too short, it means that one party did not get to present their case properly. That's what apparently happened to five IDF combat soldiers tonight.

Five of the IDF soldiers who refused to participate in the expulsion of two Jewish families from Hebron have been sentenced to 28 days in the brig, an undisclosed 'monetary fine' (where an 18-year old kid on an IDF 'salary' has money to pay a fine is an interesting question - effectively it means that the parents have to pay) and likely expulsion from their combat unit.

But what's more interesting about this story is that apparently the IDF specifically sought to have religious soldiers assist in the expulsion and the refusal phenomenon may have been more widespread than the IDF admits:
The courts martial were convened Monday night and heard the first of several cases of Duchifat Battalion soldiers who refused to carry out orders related to the eviction of two Jewish families from their homes in Hevron's Shalhevet neighborhood. The soldiers, including at least two squad commanders, refused orders they received on Monday morning to secure a road leading to Hevron ahead of the planned forced evictions. An IDF spokesperson said that only 12 soldiers refused orders outright, but reports from the field indicate that a total of almost 30 soldiers said that they would not actively carry out the relevant orders.

"The IDF is trying to hush up and hide the phenomenon of refusal of orders," according to a well-known right-wing activist and resident of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hevron, Baruch Marzel. "It is much more widespread than is being reported. We are talking about scores and possibly hundreds of soldiers who are interested in various degrees of refusal."

The father of one of the Duchifat refusers seemed to confirm Marzel's assertion during an interview with Arutz Sheva Radio. According to the soldier's father, Moshe Rosenfeld, the refusal to take part in the Hevron evictions actually began with the entire Netzach Yehuda battalion of the Kfir Brigade. Netzach Yehuda is a combat unit made up exclusively of Haredi and national-religious soldiers. When the eviction-related mission was subsequently assigned to Duchifat, 13 soldiers of the unit quickly obtained "sick leave" furlough passes rather than explicitly refuse to execute the orders.
Why is the IDF behaving so obtusely? I see a number of possibilities:

1. They genuinely believe that the two families in the Hebron market will cooperate more with religious soldiers than they will with non-religious soldiers.

2. The IDF believes that religious soldiers will identify more closely with the revenants and are therefore less likely to use violence to get the job done.

3. After some prominent instances of refusing orders during the 2005 expulsion of the Jews of Gaza, the IDF is trying to show that it is the boss and that it will force all soldiers it chooses to participate in expulsion duty.

4. The IDF wants to conduct an experiment to see how religious soldiers will respond to these types of orders.

In any event, being kicked out of a combat unit means that you are less likely to be killed in action or to go into politics (not everyone is Comrade Peretz), but in terms of post-army benefits it doesn't mean a whole lot. I happen to be a big believer in giving combat soldiers significantly better benefits, but so far that has not happened. So the consequences for these soldiers of being expelled from their units (if that is what happens) are not too significant.

By the way, that's the Duchifat battalion's epaulet at the top of this post.


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This is an opportune way to start purging religious soldiers from the army.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Nannette said...

Israel is getting dangerously close to becoming an an-Jewish state.

Jews shouldn't be ordered to evict or expel other Jews. That's what the Nazis used to do...

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

This was a reichstag fire response by kapo barak. He wanted to provoke an outrage against the most devoted of Jewish Israelis ( but Jews that would not support hhis menshevistic policies) and weaken the religious national movement.
He could have easily sent seculars who would have followd shoot to kill orders, but wanted a provocation to exploit politically.
My whole life I've been a supporter of the religious zionistmovement, but maybe the non-Zionist Hareidim are correct.


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