A new legislative proposal registered in the Knesset stipulates that IDF soldiers not be used for the purpose of removing Jews from their homes. The bill is sponsored by Knesset Members Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and Tzipi Hotobeli (Likud).
The bill states that soldiers will not be used for enforcing laws that are not connected with national security, humanitarian needs, or saving people or their property in Israel or abroad. The proposal has an escape clause in that exceptions can be permitted by a majority of 80 MKs.
Our bill will preclude the need to throw our best soldiers in prison just because the Defense Minister wants them to carry out Labor party policy.
MK Eldad explained on Tuesday, “The unrest in the IDF, which has become a subcontractor for the destruction of Jewish homes and the expulsion of settlers, is constantly on the rise. You can put more and more soldiers in jail, but we can’t avoid having to deal with the root of the problem. This bill’s aim is to clearly define the IDF’s objectives as defending the State of Israel, its sovereignty and its citizens, and not law enforcement or police activity.”
Six Soldiers Jailed This Month
Just this week, four more soldiers were sentenced to 20-30 days in prison for having raised a sign stating, “The Nachshon Regiment Doesn’t Expel Jews.” Two of them were demoted from active combat duty, and two others were ordered confined to their base for 28 days. A month ago, two soldiers were sentenced to 20 days in prison for having unfurled, at a Western Wall IDF swearing-in ceremony, a banner stating “Shimshon Regiment Doesn’t Expel Jews.”
“Our bill will preclude the need to throw our best soldiers in prison just because the Defense Minister wants to turn them into a regiment that carries out Labor party policy,” MK Eldad said.
MK Hotobeli summed up, “This bill aims to preserve the IDF as the Defense Force of Israel, and to prevent soldiers from being used to implement political decisions to throw Jews out of their homes.”
The bill’s explanatory literature explains that it is “the Israel Police Department that is charged with enforcing law and order vis-à-vis Israeli citizens, both in Israel and in the areas of the Palestinian Authority.”
It proceeds to provide some historical background: “The use of IDF soldiers to disperse demonstrations within the Green Line [pre-1967 Israel] and to remove Israeli citizens and their property during the period of the Disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Shomron took the army right into the heart of the country’s major domestic political conflict. Soldiers found themselves torn between their teachers’ instructions and their commanders’ orders. Thousands of citizens saw the IDF – the heart of the Israeli consensus – as an expulsion army… This bill aims to prevent similar situations in the future, and to try to repair the split between the nation and its army.”
Eleven MKs have joined the bill as co-sponsors: Yariv Levine, Danny Danon, Carmel Shama, Chaim Katz and Tzion Pinian of the Likud; Shas MKs Nissim Ze’ev, Chaim Amsalem, Yitzchak Vaknin and Avraham Michaeli; and Michael Ben-Ari and Uri Ariel of the National Union.