‘Expel Politics from the Army’

One of the 25 reservists who signed a protest letter to the IDF over its expulsion efforts at Homesh says, “Keep politics out of the army.”

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 11:00

Former Shimshon Commander awards soldier
Former Shimshon Commander awards soldier
Israel news photo: IDF

One of the 25 reserve soldiers and officers who signed a protest letter to the IDF over its expulsion efforts at Homesh says, “Keep politics out of the army.” Reserve platoon office Itzik Eedils told Arutz Sheva that mixing politics with defending the country weakens the IDF’s ability to fight enemies.

He and his comrades are part of the Shimshon battalion, whose commanding officer has been charged with having an “obsession” to expel residents at Homesh and violate an agreement with a Knesset committee not to take any actions that would desecrate the Sabbath.

Homesh is one of four Jewish communities in northern Samaria that was destroyed four years ago at the same the government expelled thousands of other Jews and destroyed their homes in Gush Katif and northern Gaza. Dozens of Jews have maintained a presence at the destroyed site for more than two years.

“When the army begins to deal with matters that have no connection with its basic mission but which instead are politically motivated, the officers slowly but surely will lose the ability to act against our enemies," he said.

“Soldiers and officers need to focus in one direction. When a soldier comes up against a terrorist, his commanding officer needs to decide immediately on a military move and cannot start thinking about all kinds of scenarios that will interfere" with his decisions," he added. “I served in the Shimshon unit on active duty until three years ago. The Shimshon battalion is our pride, and we have contributed important achievements for Israel and will not agree to anything that mars the heritage of the unit.”

He said that the army expulsions of Jews at Homesh caused him and fellow reservists so much pain that they felt compelled to write to commanding officers. Calling the letter “dignified,” he added, “The struggle is legal and morally correct, and we cannot have a situation where the army puts uniforms on soldiers for political missions.”

Eedils noted that the letter did not refer to the two Shimshon basic trainees who raised a protest sign at an IDF ceremony at the Western Wall three weeks ago. The reservists' message was an independent effort to put a stop to using soldiers for expulsions, he explained.

He added that many other Shimshon soldiers “think the way we do" although they did not sign the letter.