Likud on Offense against Bennett for Statement on Expelling Jews
The Chairman of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, Naftali Bennett, will hold a press conference Saturday night at the party's headquarters in Petah Tikva, as the prime minister and Likud ministers continue to attack him for saying he would not be able to carry out orders to expel Jews from their homes.
Meanwhile, Likud ministers are continuing to attack Bennett for the statement, following the lead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said Friday he would not let people who advocate refusal of orders into his coalition. Saar said in a public interview panel in Holon Saturday that Bennett should never have said what he did. "We live in a country that cannot exist for even one moment without the Israel Defense Force and the IDF's existence depends on carrying out orders from the political echelon," he explained.
"A public figure who serves as a personal example must not talk about refusing orders. That is the difference between an approach that respects the state's sovereignty and one that does not. Placing my own world view before the democratic principle is a very serious matter. This is particularly true in a heterogeneous society like Israel's. The democratic principle and playing by the democratic rules – that is what keeps us together."
Minister Sa'ar was asked if he himself would evict Jews, but he refused to answer.
On Friday, Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin and Minister Gilad Erdan of the Likud also said that unlike Bennett, they would obey orders to carry out an expulsion because not doing so "would endanger the IDF."
On Thursday, Bennett said during a television interview that if he ever receives an order to evict Jews, he would ask his commander to release him from the task and added that he would be willing to serve time in prison over this issue. While he did not advocate refusal to obey orders and is himself an officer in the IDF elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, candidates from other parties were quick to seize the opportunity to claim that he did.
"I'm not prepared to have anyone who believes in refusal of orders in my government," Netanyahu told Channel 10 News.
"Bennett's statement is very serious in my opinion," Prime Minister Netanyahu added. "I think the idea of refusal, even as a natural inclination, is something which is simply not acceptable. If every soldier decides that he likes or dislikes certain orders, we won't have an IDF and we won't have a state. I am not willing to accept such a thing."