'Melamed made a mockery of IDF officers'

Gov't stresses institution affiliated with the IDF cannot incite to insubordination and enjoy privileges.

January 21, 2010 19:05
1 minute read.
har bracha yeshiva building 248 88

har bracha yeshiva building 248 88. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

The Defense Ministry and Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued an official response on Thursday to a High Court of Justice petition by sixty-three Har Bracha Yeshiva students against Barak's decision to remove the institute from the hesder arrangement with the IDF, according to which religious youths serve 16 months in the army and spend close to four years studying in yeshiva.

An IDF investigation showed that Rabbi Eliezer Melamed instructed students at the yeshiva he heads to protest orders that contradict the institution's political agenda, the Defense Ministry wrote. The state also quoted relevant passages from Melamed's book.

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In its response, the state stressed the importance of the hesder program. "The hesder yeshiva enterprise is very important and was rightly awarded the Israel Prize," read the Defense Ministry's statement.

However, the state went on to write that Rabbi Melamed had crossed the line when he refused to acknowledge the principle of subordination and the obligation to follow orders in the IDF.

"The decision regarding the Har Bracha Yeshiva sends out a clear, resolute message that a yeshiva head cannot undermine the principle of subordination, harm the IDF, make a mockery of its commanders and encourage disobedience," it read.

The state further alleged that Melamed had "refused to apologize and clarify his position when given a chance to do so." Such a figure, said the state, cannot stand at the head of an institution which educates future soldiers and "still enjoy the privileges and benefits provided to the yeshiva by the IDF and the Defense Ministry."

The statement stressed that the criticism of Har Bracha was not targeted at any particular sector. "The IDF recognizes that Israeli society is pluralistic, and is making efforts to embrace this diversity," it read.

"The IDF cannot accept a situation where soldiers do not see themselves as wholly and completely bound to the authority of the military and its commanders," it concluded.

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