Chief of staff weighs in after Druze soldiers quit in protest

COS Eizenkot, following announcements of 2 Druze soldiers that they are quitting IDF over Nationality Law: 'Leave politics outside army.'

Ido Ben Porat,

Kobi Richter/TPS

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot responded to the Druze community's protest against the Nationality Law, over which two officers from the community announced that they would leave the IDF.

Eizenkot said in a statement that he "calls on all IDF commanders and soldiers to leave the controversial political issues outside the army."

"As a state army whose purpose is to protect the security of the people of Israel and to win in war, we are committed to preserving human dignity, regardless of origin, religion or gender,” he said.

Earlier today, a Druze officer announced that following the passage of the Nationality Law, he intends to leave the IDF.

The officer, Shadi Zidan, 23, a deputy battalion commander in a combat battalion serving in the army for five years, published a post on the subject, the day after Druze officer Amir Jamal announced that he intended to leave his military service.

"I served all over the country, there is no place I have not been," Zidan wrote. "To this day I have given the state my soul, risked my life, I have not seen home and what have I not been through. I have stood up for the flag of the country with pride and have saluted it, I sang Hatikvah because I was sure that this is my country and I am equal to everyone. But today I refused, for the first time in my service, to salute the flag, refused for the first time to sing the national anthem. "

"I am not a person of politics, but I am a citizen like everyone else and give all my strength to the state, and in the end I am a second-class citizen?" Zidan asked later in the post. "No, thank you, I'm not willing to be part of this, and yes, I too am joining this struggle and I decided to stop serving this country. Thank you, State of Israel."

Capt. Amir Jamal, a Druze officer from the Druze village of Yarka who is serving in a logistics unit in the IDF's Ground Forces, published a Facebook post yesterday, in which he announced that he would resign from service in protest of the Nationality Law. Jamal also called on other Druze serving in the IDF to follow his lead.

The IDF Spokesperson stated in response to Jamal's announcement that "The officer was summoned to a meeting with his commander. The expression of a position that contains a political statement is not approved by the army's orders." It was also clarified that "soldiers and officers, members of minorities, in regular service, reserve duty and permanent service, were and will be a central part of the IDF on the battlefield and in routine activity. The IDF is a state army and the unity of the ranks of the army is emphasized in all the types of activities, regardless of religion or gender."