Sunday, November 13, 2005

Elon Moreh, Hesder, and Civil Disobedience

Mofaz, on the advice of IDF Chief of Staff Halutz, is thinking of removing the Yeshiva in Elon Moreh from Hesder.

The Rosh Yeshiva there, Elyakim Levanon, openly called on his students to disobey orders during the Gaza Disnegagement. According to the article, a number of Givati soldiers, as well as some in the armored divisions, heeded his call and were subsequently jailed.

When in the military, you answer to one authority, your commander. While there is room for disagreement, that disagreement has to stop when action needs to be taken. To quote my cousin, who was asked during his Seargant's course whether he would remove settlers, "With tears in my heart I will do it." That's the required attitude. If a soldier decides to disobey an order it could mean his death and the death of his unit.

Yes, we all say illegal orders should not be followed. We'll take for granted that this is true, though I believe it places soldiers in impossible situations and isn't as simple as it sounds (more in a later post). That being said, if you disobey an order, even if you think its illegal, you should be willing to pay the consequences. In this case, it means either removal from Hesder or the firing of the Rosh Yeshiva.

Civil disobedience is a great thing. But civil disobedience means you serve the punishment as well. Else the sacrifice, which is what makes civil disobedience so meaningful, is worthless.