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Thursday, August 09, 2007

The mutiny is bountiful

Earlier this week, I told you about the IDF soldiers who refused to participate in the expulsion of Jews from the Hebron marketplace. For those who have forgotten, go here, here and here.

As it turns out, the mutiny was actually much larger than I originally thought. This report from Arutz Sheva will give you some idea.

Hat Tip: Aryeh Z. in Beitar Illit
The bus driver of the Duchifat Battalion soldiers who were sent to Hevron after some of their comrades refused told the story of the group’s growing ire at the situation.

The unreported story emerged Wednesday of the fate of the rest of the Duchifat Battalion who did not refuse orders and boarded the bus to Hevron to provide security for the eviction.

The bus, having been blocked by parents and activists both in the Jordan Valley and in Gush Etzion, was once again blocked by activists and residents at the entrance to Kiryat Arba. They stood in the road and refused to move. Border Police Commander Raphael Ben David, stationed in Shechem but in Hevron by chance, stopped his vehicle and, together with his driver, tried to disperse the protesters by force.

When he saw that he was not succeeding, the officer boarded the bus of Duchifat soldiers and asked that the soldiers and officers disembark and assist him. “Instead of complying, nearly all the soldiers on the bus began to yell at him that they had no intention of helping him because they are not taking part in the evacuation, and that he has no right to disperse the demonstrators on his own, and they refuse to help him,” the bus driver later told Chaim Cohen, part of a group of activists from Givatayim who came to oppose the eviction.

“They soon threw the Border Police officer off of the bus. He exited, clearly humiliated, and once again began struggling with the demonstrators – this time using clear violence. Bystanders said he grabbed the wrist of a mother-of-12 and flipped her over. She landed on her shoulder and was badly bruised.”

Meanwhile, bystanders reported that the soldiers on the bus made makeshift signs expressing support, displaying them through the bus’s side windows.

Cohen, part of a group of activists calling themselves the “Givatayim Settlers” (Givatayim is a notoriously leftist suburb of Tel Aviv), said the bus driver approached him later in the day and asked where he could find a tour of Hevron, as he had never been there before. Cohen obliged and relayed the story that the driver, who was clearly impressed, told him.
This morning, Haaretz reported that one third of the country approves of the soldiers disobeying their orders. That's significant. You have to understand that disobeying orders in the IDF is very controversial here. The number that opposes the expulsion (which Haaretz didn't ask) is likely much higher.
One-third of the public believes the soldiers were justified in following their rabbis' orders to refuse to take part in the eviction, a survey by Haaretz-Dialog found on Tuesday.

The poll of 477 people, supervised by Professor Camil Fuchs of the Statistics and Operations Research department at Tel Aviv University, found that fewer than half of the respondents objected to insubordination. Ten percent chose not to express an opinion.

The political breakdown shows that 54 percent of people who voted Likud in 2006 support insubordination, as do 75 percent of Shas voters.
Arutz Sheva also quotes a Maariv report (which I could not find on their web site) that says that 'hundreds' of soldiers quietly avoided being sent to Hebron on Tuesday by getting kitchen duty, sick leave, and other duties outside the range of the cameras.

The IDF has a big problem here. It's become an army whose combat units and officers corps are dominated by religious soldiers, many of whom are going to put their Rabbis' word ahead of the army's (and I'm not saying that in a manner of disapproval) regardless of what the army tells them to do. Even if the army can force soldiers to follow orders, it cannot force them to carry them out enthusiastically. The fact that the IDF is now being asked to operate against Jews is outrageous, and as long as the government insists on using the army this way, Tuesday's activities are probably only the beginning.


At 7:51 PM, Blogger HEADJANITOR said...

There is, after all, hope for a military coup d'etat to overthrow the thoroughly corrupt Olmert regime! I know that much work has been done (and still is being done) to create a Jewish 'government in exile', as it were. BUT WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ORGANIZE "JEWISH-FRIENDLY" ELEMENTS IN THE MILITARY, in the event that such an opportunity arises in the near future?


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