Soldiers from the 51st Battalion of the Golani Brigade refused to donate blood today following the omission of the terms "father" and "mother" from MDA's blood donating forms and the substitution of "parent 1" and "2", journalist Dvir Amar first reported.
"A van collecting blood donations arrived at the Golani Brigade here," a commander who refused to donate blood told Israel NationalNews. "The lieutenant colonel spoke to us and told us he wants us especially donate blood."
It is important to note that at no stage was an order issued requiring soldiers to donate blood in MDA's blood donation vehicle.
The soldier who spoke with Israel National News added: "We had a discussion in the department whether to donate blood following the forms. The command heard about it and then the platoon leader called us to convince us to donate."
He said, "He asked us despite the ideology and even though we are religious - to donate. We told him we did not want to donate because of the forms. He said he did not think it would really do anything significant in public discourse and it was a shame not to donate. It will not make a difference in the public discussion and it is a shame not to donate. We told him that if we decide not to donate as a unit it will have a public effect. He then replied: 'You will see that it doesn't and I will make sure that it does not reach public discussion."
"At what point did the guys ask you to educate us," the soldier said. "He swallowed and said I'm not trying to educate you'." Then- " The guys called their head of the yeshivas. Almost all the yeshiva leaders instructed the soldiers not to donate."
In the end, all the soldiers in the unit decided not to donate blood and even sent a letter to Magen David Adom. "We, the 4th Division of the Golani Brigade, vehemently refuse to donate blood through MDA until the donation forms are amended and the rubric 'father" and "mother' returns," they wrote.
"We call on MDA and the Ministry of Health: Do not mix agendas with life-saving issues. We live in a Jewish state that values Israel's tradition and its Jewish character," it said. "It is important for us to note that the sole responsibility for those blood donations that were not donated is MDA's and the Ministry of Health who changed the wording of the form. Today we are in the midst of a war of opinions and views around the state's Jewish identity."