Vilna'i: Melamed must condemn insubordination

Maverick hesder yeshiva

Eliezer Melamed 248.88 (photo credit: )
Eliezer Melamed 248.88
(photo credit: )
Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai gave Rabbi Eliezer Melamed until Sunday to express his unequivocal opposition to political demonstrations in the IDF. Melamed said that he would have to consult with senior rabbis. If the rabbi does not acquiesce, Vilnai said that he would recommend to Defense Minister Ehud Barak to remove Melamed's Har Bracha Yeshiva from the hesder yeshiva. The immediate impact on the yeshiva would be the loss of funds. The Defense Ministry provides about 40 hesder yeshivot with about 7,500 students with NIS 22 million annually. Vilnai told Melamed during the hour-and-a-half long meeting Thursday evening that a soldier has to know that there is only one source of authority and not more than one, said Vilnai's spokesman, who was present during the meeting. There cannot be a situation in which a soldier tells his commander that he has to consult his rabbi before following orders, Vilnai told Melamed during the meeting which took place at Beit Hachayal in Jerusalem. Vilnai specifically asked Melamed to issue a statement similar to the one issued by Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva in which Druckman expressed his opposition to using the IDF as a place for political demonstrations. The issue of political demonstrations in the IDF came to the forefront after three separate incidents in which Kfir Brigade soldiers who serve in Judea and Samaria waved banners in prominent places declaring they would refuse to obey orders to evacuate Jewish settlements. During the meeting, Vilnai praised Melamed's yeshiva for producing highly motivated soldiers who have made their impact on the IDF. Melamed told Vilnai that his position was based on the accepted Halacha as taught for generation upon generation from the time of King David that God's commandments take precedent over any order military or other, according to the news media Internet site Arutz 7. Other leading rabbis have ruled in an identical fashion to Melamed including former Chief Rabbi of the IDF Shlomo Goren, who also served as Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. In addition, former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Avraham Shapira published an opinion in favor of military insubordination during the Gaza disengagement.