(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
After declaring that it would respond with a heavy hand to
IDF decided last week to backtrack on its punishment against two
waved a banner against a military action, allowing them to return to the
track from which they had been expelled.
Last November, Achiya Melamed
and Malkiel Horovitz from the Nahshon Battalion waved a banner reading
Nahshon does not evacuate” from the rooftop of a building on their base
South Hebron Hills, shortly after Border Police razed two illegal homes
They were following the example Shimshon soldiers set a
month before during the evacuation of Homesh, when two of them held a banner
reading “Shimshon does not evacuate Homesh.”
Melamed and Horovitz were
suspended and expelled from the hesder track they were part of, thus
them in a normal military track, as part of which they would have to
years of active service. Most hesder students serve 16 months of active
duty, but Melamed and Horovitz had signed on for an additional eight
order to become section commanders. Their two-year military service will
conclude at the end of July.
Last April, the soldiers requested of IDF’s
OC Manpower Maj- Gen.
Avi Zamir that they be returned to the hesder
track, and the Hesder Union also began appealing their cause to many
sources in the IDF.
Col. Gad Agmon, commander of the IDF draft and
induction center in Tel Hashomer (Meitav), recently told the union that
following his recommendation, Zamir decided to return the soldiers to
track. They will accordingly be ending their active military service at
of July, and returning to the Elon Moreh yeshiva for an additional study
Agmon noted that the decision was made due to the army’s desire to
cooperation with the Hesder Union, and following the IDF’s conclusion
insubordinate soldiers’ remorse was sincere.
Hesder Union CEO Eitan Ozeri
praised the IDF’s move, calling it “an expression of the firm and
bond between the hesder yeshivot and the army.”
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon,
who heads the Elon Moreh yeshiva, thanked the military for its decision
letter, and the Hesder Union for their efforts in promoting the move.
has on more than one occasion reiterated his support for refusing
orders under certain circumstances.Soldiers expressed remorse for actions in letter
Zamir’s decision to allow the
soldiers to return to the hesder program was received with surprise due
IDF’s initial declaration following the incident that it would not
soldiers who refuse orders or call on others to do so.
In response to the
claims, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement that the soldiers
expressed remorse for their actions in a letter they wrote several
months ago to
“After the soldiers who were involved in waving the protest flag
wrote the letter, head of the Manpower Division Maj.-Gen. Avi Zamir
them for a hearing with the commander of the IDF’s Meitav Branch to
the soldiers and consider the possibility of allowing them to return to
the IDF statement said.
“After the soldiers expressed deep remorse for
their actions during the interview, head of the Manpower Division
permit them to return to hesder.”
The IDF further noted that the soldiers
will still complete 24 full months of active military service in
the 16 months that most hesder students do. In addition, Zamir said that
would not tolerate any future incidents in which soldiers refuse
“If there are additional cases in the future they will be handled
in accordance with the full severity of the law,” Zamir said.