Yaron Avraham, a reporter with the Knesset Channel who served in the elite intelligence Unit 8200, lashed out on Sunday at the leftist reservists who signed a letter indicating they would refuse to serve “in the occupied terrorists”.
Avraham suggested that those who signed the letter should simply remove Unit 8200 from their resume.
"This is insolence," he said, referring to the letter. "I am against refusal of any kind but particularly in this unit where I know the atmosphere. Anyone who wants to air out any complaints should do so within the unit - there are those who will listen. That’s my greatest frustration [with the letter]."
Avraham rejected the reservists’ claims that the unit uses the means at its disposal for invasion of privacy.
"Maybe this is problematic on civil issues, but wiretapping does not happen because we’re interested in finding out when they go to the grocery store, but rather because it has significance to what is happening on the ground,” he said.
"If the signatories think the unit's actions are immoral, may they kindly delete the number 8200 from their resume - the same number that opens doors in civilian life," concluded Avraham.
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 on Sunday, 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.
Several political leaders have denounced the letter, including MKs Yitzhak Herzog and Shelly Yechimovich of the Labor party as well as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Coalition Chairman MK Yariv Levin.