Shimshon soldiers to be hailed at 'farbrengen'

Shimshon soldiers to be

A ceremony will be held Saturday night in Jerusalem honoring soldiers from the Shimshon battalion who waved a protest sign during a swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall about three weeks ago. The sign declared that the soldiers would not take part in the evacuation of Jews from Homesh, a northern Samaria settlement evacuated during the 2005 Gaza disengagement. Settlers have since returned to Homesh, which is still under IDF control, and have set up a yeshiva there. The IDF periodically evacuates these settlers. Saturday night's ceremony, organized by Homesh First, will be patterned after a Hassidic farbrengen, an uplifting spiritual meeting in which songs are sung and expositions on the Torah are related. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzberg, who teaches an eclectic version of Chabad Hassidism and has become a popular spiritual leader among a growing group of settlers - especially in the Samaria settlement of Yitzhar - is expected to attend. Kiryat Arba-Hebron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior is also slated to attend. Special honors will bestowed upon Aryeh Arbus and Ahiyah Ovadya, the two soldiers who waved the sign. The two were punished by the IDF for expressing political opinions during an IDF ceremony that is supposed to be ideologically neutral. The two were imprisoned for 18 days and were expelled from the Shimshon battalion. A source involved in the planning of the event said that the new book Torat Hamelech, which provides halachic justification for the killing of gentiles, would be distributed. The book, written by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of Yitzhar, condones killing gentiles under specific conditions, such as when they are being used as human shields by terrorists or even if it can be assumed that they will grow up to become enemies of the Jewish people. The book was written in response to the moral dilemmas facing IDF soldiers as they perform constabulary duties in Judea and Samaria amid a hostile Palestinian population. Both the waving of the sign and the publication of the book illustrate that some religious IDF soldiers have a dual loyalty. On one hand, they are committed to protecting the Jewish state against its enemies. On the other, they are ideologically opposed to the IDF being used against the settler enterprise and are willing to serve only for the prior purpose. As reflected in Torat Hamelech, some settlers oppose what they perceive as the IDF's "Western" morality, which needlessly endangers Jewish soldiers in combat situations by obligating them to protect non-combatants.