The wave of anti-expulsion protests has reached “close to the heart” with new shirts for soldiers featuring slogans against army orders to soldiers to destroy Jewish homes and expel their residents.
The shirts were reported by Channel Two television to be prepared for distribution to sympathizers in the Shimshon battalion, whose freshmen soldiers are about to finish several months of rigorous basic training. Shimshon soldiers raised a storm last month when they unfurled signs against expulsion orders, leading to several of them being thrown out of combat service.
Kadima Knesset Member Otniel Schneller, an observant Jew living in Samaria who has previously said he is willing to leave his home as a price for an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, took off the gloves Sunday to oppose the new shirts.
“Religious Zionists must disassociate from these actions and remain loyal to the righteousness of the country and its decisions," he declared. He called on the IDF to put on trial and expel from combat service any soldier who wears the shirts.
They carry the slogan, “Shimshon Does Not Expel from Homesh,” referring to the destroyed site of the former community in Samaria where young Jews have maintained a presence for three years, despite frequent expulsions.
The printing on the back of the shirts for the soldiers states, “You were in Lebanon; you were in Gaza; were you in newspapers?” referring to media coverage of the protests. Accompanying the words is a picture of solders waving a protest sign.
The anti-expulsion wave has spread to high school students and to public billboards. “We salute you for your courage, and we love you,” says one poster in the city of Bat Yam, located in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Twelfth-grade students at one school have written a letter stating their intentions to enlist in combat service but to refuse expulsion orders. “We will be happy to enlist in the IDF, but not in an army that destroys Israel,” the letter states. “We will try to do our part to build the nation both physically and spiritually and defend it.”