The nationalist Otzma Leyisrael faction and one of the Labor party’s more left-wing candidates found common ground Thursday during a panel discussion at Shaarei Mishpat college.
The three representatives present – Meirav Michaeli of Labor, MK David Rotem of Yisrael Beytenu, and MK Aryeh Eldad of Otzma Leyisrael – were asked what they think IDF soldiers should do when presented with orders that conflict with their personal ideology.
Both Michaeli and MK Eldad declared that, contrary to popular opinion, soldiers who find themselves in such a position should refuse orders.
“I think that if a soldier tells his commander, ‘I can’t serve in the occupied territories,’ he should be allowed to,” said Michaeli, adding, “The soldier has to know that he will pay a price for refusing orders, he may even go to jail.”
“Blind obedience to the law is problematic,” she continued. Members of Knesset must keep citizens in mind when creating laws, she added. “They must consider the values held by those who are going to live by them.”
Michaeli has previously called on mothers not to send their children to the army.
MK Eldad said that while he usually finds himself disagreeing in debates, in this case he agrees with Michaeli. “I would call to refuse orders, like I did before the Disengagement,” he said.
Prior to the Disengagement from Gaza in 2005 Eldad called on IDF soldiers to refuse orders to expel Israeli families from their homes.
He noted that he has attempted to pass a law that would prevent the government from ordering IDF soldiers to evict families from their homes, requiring police to do the work instead. “Citizens can choose whether or not to join the police,” he said.
The moderator of the discussion, Dr. Aviad Hacohen, was perturbed by Eldad and Michaeli’s stances. “I am not comfortable with the consensus we saw here, I and the staff of this college teach that the law must be followed,” he said.