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200 Reservists Sign Letter Against Insubordination

Backlash continues after leftist reservists accuse elite IDF unit of abuses in Judea-Samaria; politicians blast 'disgusting slander.'

Shimon Cohen,

Elite Unit 8200 soldiers conduct training dri
Elite Unit 8200 soldiers conduct training dri
Flash 90

The backlash in Israel continues to grow at the decision by 43 leftist reservists in a unit IDF intelligence unit to call for insubordination.

Political and military figures from Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog - who is himself a reservist officer in Unit 8200 - have flocked to condemn the calls, which were made in a letter late last week.

Ya'alon' s condemnation was particularly severe; after praising the unit for its "amazing" work which "preserves the existence of the State of Israel," he branded the letter "a foolish and obscene attempt to support the international false delegitimization campaign against the State of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF."

His words were echoed by Jewish Home party MK Ayelet Shaked, who took to Facebook to express her disgust at the letter, branding its authors "hypocrites" who "slander Israel" in the international community and function as "a tool for the delegitimization machine against the State of Israel". Her post was accompanied by a link to an article in the UK's far-left Guardian newspaper, which gleefully reported the allegations made in the letter, including accusations that the unit was spying on "innocent Palestinians", and that its actions amounted to "political persecution" in order to "create divisions in Palestinian society".

Meanwhile, a counter letter initiated by former an current members of the unit - which plays a key role in thwarting terror attacks against Israel - has garnered 200 signatures as of Sunday morning.

The initiators are attempting to collect as many signatures as possible before mailing a physical copy of the document to their leftist opponents in the next several days. 

"We are veterans of Unit 8200, soldiers and reserve soldiers, past and present, who wish to express shock, disgust and total renouncement of the letter written by our fellow soldiers, who chose political refusal over our unit," the counter letter said.

"This political refusal has no place in the army in general and in Unit 8200 in particular," it continued. "In the hour that reserve soldiers are called to serve their country, we put aside our preferences and political opinions and go to serve our country."

"We regret that our friends make cynical use of politics in their legal and moral duty to serve in the reserve unit, which in our eyes constitutes the highest honor, and seek [instead] to undermine the activities and achievements in the unit's defense of the country and its people." 

The veterans rejected claims in the first letter that the IDF was using information on Palestinian Arabs to "stalk" them and "harass innocent people" instead of defending Israeli civilians. 

"As those familiar with the unit for many years, we cannot accept the allegations of lack of ethical and moral principles of intelligence work in the unit," it said. "From our first days in the unit, we learned the importance of monitoring and collecting data in accordance with high professional standards and regulations."

"Both in regular and reserve services, we have witnessed many cases where the operation of the unit's intelligence capabilities resulted in the preservation of human life on both sides," it continued. "Even when ethical dilemmas arise on the job, and during the war, witnesses [of crimes] were and still dealt with in a mature and responsible manner, in line with the principles of international law and the code of ethics and morals of the army."




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