Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Tammuz 5765 - July 27, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
What are the Values Behind the Objections to the Disengagement?

This is a question to which we do not know the answer. However we do know that whatever they are, really, they are not values with which we can identify.

We study and think about issues, but life is always more complex than what we can imagine. A person is not a machine; people almost always have multiple motives for whatever they do as a result of many different values that contribute to what they finally do. The values that drive a person are very important in assessing the meaning of what he does, and in how his actions are regarded in Shomayim — which is precisely why it is usually impossible for people with their limited vision and limited understanding to truly evaluate what other people do.

We do not judge the people opposing the Disengagement. We cannot know their collective values and certainly do not know the values that move each and every individual. But we can see from certain broad actions that their values are not ours. They are not values that we can identify with.

The issue of soldiers obeying IDF orders in and around the traumatic disengagement has swirled around for months. It is an issue that has been the focus of the rabbonim who are at the forefront of the opposition; all of them have certainly thought about it long and deeply in these past months.

Some of those rabbonim say that IDF soldiers must obey any order that they are given, no matter what. Some say that soldiers should not obey any direct order to evacuate people from their homes in Eretz Yisroel. Some go so far as to say that a soldier must refuse to carry out any order that will even indirectly help the disengagement, such as taking over the duties of other soldiers who are sent to carry out the disengagement.

Whatever the position that these rabbonim took on the issue, it came after deep thought and soul searching.

Two weeks ago on Shabbos parshas Bolok, the IDF conducted special patrols on Shabbos itself, along the fence around Gaza to ensure that no opponents of the disengagement infiltrate through to join the community in Gush Katif in order to make it harder to evacuate them. Tragically, among the soldiers called upon to do this duty — which involved jeep patrols and other unequivocal chilul Shabbos, Rachmono litzlan — were many religious soldiers.

The order was patently absurd since it is common knowledge that the opponents of the disengagement are virtually all religious, and the bitterest opponents would not think of sneaking in to Gush Katif at the price of chilul Shabbos!

Army spokesmen at first said, lamely, that they had reliable intelligence information that right-wing chilonim were planning to cut the fence to go to Gush Katif. They did not explain where all these secular opponents were hiding during the street demonstrations and why they would suddenly decide to show up on Shabbos instead of spending the day at the beach. In fact, none were found.

The Army eventually admitted that the patrols were not necessary, and certainly did not involve any pikuach nefesh.

But this would have undoubtedly been evident to anyone on the scene. There was no military need for the patrols, and even by their very loose definitions they did not involve any pikuach nefesh.

Nonetheless, among all the religious soldiers who were taken on Shabbos Kodesh to man the checkpoints and patrol the fences, it does not seem to have occurred to any of them to disobey the orders — even though the orders were against standing Army regulations not to violate Shabbos when pikuach nefesh is not involved and even though the effect was chilul Shabbos, Rachmono litzlan!

The behavior is a sharp contrast against the recent background of the long, deep and thorough discussions that have taken place about disobeying orders to evacuate Gush Katif.

Even though there were after-the-fact protests from the soldiers and from some rabbonim, not one of the many religious soldiers told his commander that he refuses to violate Shabbos Kodesh for no good reason.

We do not judge. We just say that any system that considers it a serious issue to obey or not to obey an order to evacuate people from their homes but does not at the same time see chilul Shabbos as an order that should be evaluated critically, is not one that we can in any way identify with.

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