Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home) responded Thursday to a letter written by high school seniors calling on others not to enlist in the IDF.
The letter, published by Yediot Ahronot on Thursday, claims Israel "oppresses" Palestinian Authority Arabs, and the signatories refused "to have any part" in this "oppression."
"We will refuse to serve out of an obligation to our values of peace, and because of our knowledge that there is an alternative reality which we can create together," the letter read. "We call on our fellow students to ask themselves: Will IDF service advance this cause [of peace]?"
"Using army service in order to advance a political agenda which most of the Israeli public opposes is cynical and shameful. It would be better if their educators taught them Shimon the Hasmonean's expression that 'a nation cannot be an occupier in its own land,'" Ben Dahan said.
"Today's high school seniors apparently do not understand why the People of Israel are living in the State of Israel and not in Uganda. They apparently do not understand their own right, or the Jewish Nation's right, to its own land. It's about time they learned it, and we'll be happy to refer them to the proper pre-military academies.
"Just yesterday, a survey was published showing that the Arab Israelis, who live under 'occupation,' have the highest life expectancy in the Muslim Arab world."
Ben Dahan added that he "embraces the IDF soldiers, and wants to express to them his unconditional support for their efforts to protect the Jewish People and the State of Israel."
"I ask of you: Ignore the ancillary phenomena, such as letters which high schoolers send as a media gimmick. I am sure that the leaders of this country, starting from the President, share my stance. I call on all the leftists who condemn, day and night, the call to refuse enlistment, to condemn this letter as well."