Poll: ‘No’ to Expulsion Orders

Nearly 80 percent of national religious Jews favor refusing expulsion orders or asking not to join in removing Jews from Yesha, a new poll reveals.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Expulsion victims argue with soldiers
Expulsion victims argue with soldiers
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Seventy-nine percent of the national religious camp would encourage soldiers to refuse orders to remove Jews from communities in Judea and Samaria or to ask not to participate in removing residents, according to a new poll.

The results of the survey published Thursday show the national religious camp is “settling accounts” with the government for having separated from the ”heritage of forefathers,” pollsters Meir Gal and Dr. Avi Piaar told the Yisrael HaYom Hebrew language newspaper. The poll was carried out by Mootagim, the Hebrew word for “trademark” or brand name products.

Thirty-nine percent of the respondents favor outright refusal of expulsion orders, and 36 percent would encourage soldiers to ask commanders to relieve them from having to expel Jews from their homes.

The poll showed signs that the expulsions four years ago left the national religious camp more insistent to fight future orders to remove Jews from their homes. Sixteen percent of the respondents said that they would do “everything that is needed” to fight future expulsions, even if it would result in injuries to soldiers or police officers.

The issue of using soldiers to carry out political decisions, even if they are to be executed in Judea and Samaria where the military establishment is the legal authority, aroused an emotional debate four years ago, on the eve of the expulsions of approximately 8,000 Jews from Gush Katif and parts of northern Samaria.

The number of national religious officers in the IDF is proportionately far higher that non-religious officers, and their ideology emphasizes pride to serve in the army. However, several rabbis have argued that the expulsion orders were illegal or immoral, and one reserve officer who campaigned four years ago against the idea of soldiers refusing orders has changed his stand.

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is trying to prevent a future problem of dissension and has told Defense Minister Ehud Barak he does not want soldiers to participate in any future expulsions.

Two States Already Here?

Half of those participating in the poll also think that a new Arab state within the current borders of Israel will be established or already is functioning on a de facto basis. Twenty-five percent said there will be a Palestinian Authority country, while another 25 percent said that it already exists.

Most surveys among the Arab sector in Judea, Samaria and Gaza have revealed a general pessimism regarding their personal future and the chances that a new state will be formed. They also increasingly favor violence against Jews.