The IDF has vowed to respond firmly to calls for insubordination, after a group of leftist reservists in an elite intelligence unit accused their unit of spying on "innocent Palestinians" and said they would "refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories." Meanwhile, it has been revealed that only a fraction of those who authored the letter served in front line positions.
The allegations, coupled with an open call to refuse orders, have drawn angry responses from political leaders, as well as many more members of the unit itself known as Unit 8200. In response to the letter, signed by 43 left-wing reservists, some 200 past and present soldiers in the unit have signed a counter-letter debunking the claims and expressing anger at what they said was a politically-motivated smear against the army.
Responding to the growing firestorm, IDF spokesman Moti Almoz affirmed that the military would be taking a zero-tolerance approach to insubordination.
"There is no room for insubordination in the IDF," said Almoz. "There are disputes and (opposing) political positions" in a democracy such as Israel, he noted, but added that the army - which represented the full gamut of Israeli political opinion - was not the place to take political actions designed to create disunity.
He accused the authors of the letter of abusing their positions in the military for political purposes.
"We in the IDF, up to the most senior officer, view this severely, and the disciplinary action will be loud and clear," he vowed.
His words came as it was revealed that only 10 out of the 43 soldiers actually served in the field, with the rest all serving in indirect and supporting roles and thus not being exposed to any of the types of operations during which the alleged misconduct had taken place.
Political figures from Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to Opposition leader Yitzhak Hergoz have condemned the calls to refuse orders, noting that Unit 8200 performs a crucial role in thwarting terrorist attacks and disrupting terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria in particular.