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      Soldiers Who Held Protest Sign Booted from Hesder

      IDF continues to crack down on soldiers who displayed signs against eviction of Jews. Instead of Hesder, they will serve full 36 months.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 1/13/2010, 8:38 PM / Last Update: 1/13/2010, 9:27 PM

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      Three soldiers from Kfir Brigade who were involved in unfurling large protest signs against the IDF's participation in eviction of Jews from their homes will be kicked out of the Hesder Yeshiva track which allows them to combine military service with Torah learning. They will have to serve in the regular 36-month military track, without Torah study, like non-Hesder soldiers. Hesder soldiers usually serve 15-18 months in the army, in between periods of intense yeshiva learning.

      The punishment was meted out to a soldier from Shimshon Battalion who participated in a protest at the Kotel in October, and to two soldiers from Nachshon Battalion who participated in a protest in November. Shimshon and Nachshon are both battalions in the Kfir Brigade which operates in Judea and Samaria.

      A supportive American donor gifted money to the Shimshon soldiers' families for each night they spent in jail. A similar offer was refused by the two Nachshon hesder soldiers, who have now been punished four times: 30 days in jail, demoted to the rank of private, removed from future combat positions, and eviction from the Hesder program. The two said that they do not want any money for what they did, and that if someone wants to donate money, he should donate to the Negohot family whose home was destroyed.

      In the first case, soldiers unfurled a sign that said “Shimshon Battalion does not carry out evictions at Homesh.” In the second incident, two soldiers hung a sign from a rooftop at the Adorayim Base in southern Mount Hevron, following the destruction of two homes at nearby Negohot in mid-November. The sign said: “Nachshon Battalion does not evict Jews either.”

      Immediately following these two protests, the brigade's commander, Lt.-Col. Oren Abman, sentenced the soldiers involved to 30 days in jail, demoted them to privates, and barred them from becoming commanders in the future.