Otzma candidate Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari says he backs refusing orders, accuses Naftali Bennett of talking like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and says real leadership is telling soldiers not to expel Jews.
In an interview with the Hebrew-language website Serugim, Ben-Ari, currently a National Union MK, took aim at Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party, for backtracking on remarks that he would refuse orders to expel a Jew from his home.
“It is very convenient to offer a supermarket of opinions, but whoever does so really is not right wing,” said Ben-Ari, number two candidate on the Otzma list. Polls show that Otzma is close to reaching the threshold of winning enough votes to earn Knesset representation.
Ben-Ari said that Bennett’s waffling puts him in the same camp as the Prime Minister. “This is the Likud,” he explained, “which supports a Palestinian Authority and is against it, supports a building freeze and then is against it.”
He challenged Bennett to clearly state his “red lines.” “The Jewish Home party did not leave the government during the Migron expulsion and instead took an aspirin to relive the pain,” stated Ben-Ari. “So what if they expelled Jews from the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El? Take another aspirin, Whoever has no red lines can easily join the Likud.”
Concerning IDF commanders’ orders to soldier to expel Jews from their homes, Ben-Ari said, “Of course, one needs to refuse such orders. The IDF is the army of the people and not a machine for every politician to do with what he thinks.”
Asked if his attitude would not harm the army and if the army does not have to carry out government policy, Ben-Ari answered, “ The objective of the army is to defend the people of Israel and not to harm them, to serve our children and our brothers and not to work as policemen. If Netanyahu wants to destroy Jewish communities, he can invite the police, who will do anything for money.
“But anyone who is drafted into the army to defend the people cannot stand before his brother and cousin and expel them from their homes. That is totally crazy.”
The MK said that refusing orders could cause short-term damage to the IDF but that in the long-term, the IDF would be “stronger and more moral.”