It was decided that the soldiers of the brigade will be charged with defending the region from Arab terror attacks during this summer’s withdrawal, instead of removing Jews from their homes. Many of the brigade soldiers are either religious or children of immigrants.
Brig.-Gen. Gershon HaCohen is the disengagement commander who received word of this decision. He is charged with overseeing the uprooting of the residents of Gush Katif.
Hagit Rotenberg of the B’Sheva weekly reports that Golani Brigade commander Col. Erez Zuckerman informed HaCohen that the soldiers of the brigade and their commanders would be unable to fulfill the expulsion mission. The Golani Brigade Commander came to this conclusion in light of recent conversations with senior officers in the brigade.
The situation became apparent following a conference of Golani officers, when lectures on the importance of fulfilling the disengagement mission and maintaining loyalty to democracy and the rule of law were delivered. The Brigade Commander noticed that officers were purposely avoiding addressing questions having to do with the question of fulfilling the expulsion order.
Following the conference, the Brigade Commander invited all the Deputy Battalion Commanders to a discussion to clarify the matter.
The Deputy Battalion Commanders told him unequivocally that the brigade was simply not built to fulfill the expulsion order. "Not for this did we join the IDF," they said.
An entire company of yeshiva-graduated Golani soldiers serving in the Philadelphi corridor informed their commanders that in the event that they are assigned to carry out an operation against a Jewish civilian population, they have no intention of carrying out that order. They say they will only act in a capacity against Arab attacks, but that if assigned any other task with regard to Jewish towns, the commanders warned of mass disobedience.
“The sentiment of the commanders in the brigade is that they are being forced to choose where their loyalties lie – with their father or with their mother. It's an impossible choice between settlement in the Land of Israel and the IDF,” the Deputy Battalion Commanders said, “and they want to continue to be loyal to both of them.”
As a result of the Deputy Battalion Commanders’ briefing, the Brigade Commander informed the Division Commander that the brigade will not be able to take part in the uprooting of residents. The situation was also brought to the attention of the Chief of Staff.
Ari Abramowitz, a former Golani Sergeant who served in the Philadelphi Corridor, told Arutz-7 that the news of Golani’s removal from the task of expelling Jews from their homes was to be expected. “I am not surprised one bit,” he said. “I and all the former Golani soldiers I know would refuse the orders together with them. The stereotype of Golani, which is somewhat true, is that they are first- and second-generation immigrants from Arab countries. They understand Arabs on a much deeper level than the Ashkenazi Jew from Tel Aviv. They know that the Arabs understand power and strength, and know that the transfer of Jews from their homes will be a victory for Arab terror and will encourage further attacks on Jews.”