The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Defaming Dati Soldiers
A disproportionate number of religious Israelis volunteer for IDF combat units. If Israel were a normal society and Jews a normal people, this would be praiseworthy. Yet even as charedi men who don't serve in the army are criticized for their failure to defend the country, religious soldiers who risk their lines in dangerous units are criticized for being disloyal to the State.
Leonard Fein's column in this week's Forward is an unfortunate example. According to Fein: "It is [the settlers], together with their allies in the national religious movement, who today provide some 30% of the officers' corps of Israel's ground forces and 30% of Israel's front-line troops."
In other words, Fein is making an accusation against all religious soldiers, that they will disobey government orders. Not only is there no basis for the accusation, even the Yesha Council - the mainstream leadership of Jewish residents in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - has rejected the notion that soldiers should refuse orders.
Interestingly, the exact same argument, with the exact same statistic, appears in the current issue of The Jerusalem Report, which was published about 10 days ago. Hirsch Goodman wrote:
"Some 30 percent of the officers’ corps of the ground forces and a similar number of front-line soldiers are either from the settlements or have a national religious background, and have grown up in the ideological bubble of Greater Israel..
"Civil war is what we are faced with, and better for all of us to recognize the danger before it becomes a reality. If civil war breaks out, the Israeli army will find itself fighting its own elite troops, some of the best-trained officers and men in the world, armed with ideology versus confusion."
Fein and Goodman's invective is disgraceful. Goodman should especially be ashamed of defaming young men who risk (and too often sacrifice) their lives for his security. Fein should especially be ashamed of ripping off someone else's column.