Druckman hopes for PM's support on Har Bracha

Druckman hope for PMs s

Rabbi Haim Druckman, Chairman of the Union of Hesder Yeshivot, attempted Wednesday to garner Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's support against Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to remove the Har Bracha Yeshiva from the hesder framework. Druckman, together with Rabbi David Stav, spokesman for the Hesder Yeshivot, met with Prime Minister's Office Director-General Eyal Gabbai and impressed on him the negative ramifications of Barak's decision. "There are some very negative phenomena that have resulted from Barak's decision," said Stav after the meeting. "In religious Zionist circles there is more extreme talk. There is more of a feeling of animosity toward the IDF not only among soldiers but in general," added Stav. "I am not saying that someone is planning on using violence. But there is a feeling of alienation." Stav and Druckman hoped that by describing the negative reactions felt in some religious Zionist circles to Barak's decision, Netanyahu would be convinced to work to reverse the decision. Presently, about 150 hesder students enrolled at Har Bracha Yeshiva, located near Nablus, are forced to either join the IDF for a full three-year stint, instead of just 18 months, or to join a different yeshiva that belongs to the hesder framework. Barak's decision came after Har Bracha's head Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, voiced support for insubordination in cases where IDF soldiers are ordered to help evacuate Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. However, the move is seen by religious Zionist leaders as politically motivated. Barak's tough stand against Har Bracha, say many hesder yeshiva heads, is geared toward mustering support among Labor's secular constituents who are disturbed by hesder yeshivot's mixture of religious fervor and motivation to serve. During the meeting, Druckman also clarified his opinion on insubordination. This week Druckman was quoted in Olam Katan, a flier distributed in synagogues for Shabbat, as saying that a soldier who is ordered to evacuate a Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria should do everything in his power to avoid carrying out the order. Druckman reportedly went on to say that if there was no way of avoiding the order by speaking privately with the commanding officer, the Orthodox soldier should simply refuse to carry out the order. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post Wednesday, Druckman said that he was opposed to insubordination. "But I also believe that a religious soldier whose conscience does not allow him to carry out such an order is just like a soldier with a broken leg who is physically unable to serve," said Druckman. "The officer should understand this and proceed accordingly." Druckman said that according to his understanding of Halacha, it is prohibited to evacuate settlements with the intention of ceding the land to Palestinians. "However, there are different opinions among rabbis. It is not a clear-cut situation." The message to Barak from the hesder yeshiva heads comes just a day after the Defense Minister received a death threat reportedly from far-right extremists.