Hesder students call for rabbis' help

Say more needs to be done to help IDF soldiers found guilty of insubordination.

kfar maimon rally 298 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
kfar maimon rally 298 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Not enough has been done by some Hesder Yeshiva heads to champion the cause of IDF soldiers found guilty of insubordination, according to a petition signed by 1,196 Hesder Yeshiva students. The caustic petition demanded more aggressive action against the IDF on the part of Hesder Yeshiva representatives. "The Union of Hesder Yeshivot and yeshiva heads should take a more aggressive stand," said the petition. "Continuing the arrangement between the IDF and the yeshivot should be conditional upon the reinstating of all 24 students who were kicked out of Hesder Yeshivot [as punishment for refusing orders before and during disengagement]. "We feel that refraining from taking a more aggressive stand is a blow to our trust and faith. This trust and faith were instilled in us by our rabbis and teachers who taught us that to serve in the IDF is a holy mission aimed at spreading His commandments and teachings. "The brunt of the endeavor to oppose disengagement fell on the shoulders of youth, who were only carrying out rabbis' directives." The petition warned that giving in to IDF pressure on the issue of insubordination would lead to further capitulations regarding religious stringencies such as separating men and women for modesty, kosher food and Shabbat adherence. According to BeSheva, Arnon Segel, a student at the Hesder Yeshiva in Tekoa initiated the petition. Segel was quoted as saying that, "many students will have difficulty cooperating with the Union unless it does more for its students". None of the 24 soldiers contacted by the Post agreed to be interviewed on record. However, one said that he was more disappointed with MKs from the National Religious Party and the National Union Party. "They have time to fight about Knesset seats," said the disgruntled soldier. "But they don't have time to help us I guess." There is a chance that the IDF will backtrack. According to a yeshiva source, nine out of the 24 IDF soldiers who were kicked out are likely to be reinstated. Unlike most of the Hesder Yeshiva soldiers, these nine soldiers, who served in the Lavi Battalion, claim they never refused orders. They say that all they did was raise their hands in the affirmative when asked by their battalion commander who wished to be exempt from preparations for disengagement. Rabbi David Stav, spokesman for the Union of Hesder Yeshivot and one of the heads of the Hesder Yeshiva in Petach Tikva, said in response to the petition that the union was doing everything in its power to get the 24 soldiers back to Hesder Yeshivot. "It is a three-fold punishment that is completely incommensurate with the crime," said Stave who agreed in principle that the IDF had the right to punish the soldiers. "The IDF's decision to punish them so severely is just deepening the feeling of alienation many of these students already feel toward the state."