Let's talk about loyalty

Lets talk about loyalty

I hear a knock at the door in the middle of my breakfast. "Who could it be at this hour," I wonder. When I open the door, I see my son and his army friends. They have come to evacuate me from my home in the Judean hills. I know that such scenarios are the nightmare of many soldiers and their families. I know that fear and anger over possible future settlement evacuations are fueling the recent spate of soldier protests. I understand the worry and pain - especially when reflecting on the 2005 disengagement, which has been a failure on all counts. Nevertheless - and it's a difficult "nevertheless" to swallow - the army and the government cannot tolerate any declarations of intent to refuse future orders. If the IDF becomes an institution in which members can opt in and out of goals and campaigns, our ability to defend our citizens and deter our enemies will crumble. SO WHAT do we do about it? Firstly, we have to remember that these protests are small-scale affairs, and that most soldiers and their instructors condemn military insubordination; it's unfair to blame the entire hesder yeshiva network. As Rabbi David Stav, spokesman of the union of hesder yeshivas, has said, most yeshiva heads condemn political expression within a military framework. That is why I regret Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i's pronouncement that the IDF can do without the soldiers of the hesder yeshivot. I know that he is both blaming an entire segment of the population for the acts of a few, and alienating people even further instead of bringing them back into line. I want to change the tone of discussion from distrust and suspicion to empathy for the other's position. Just as insubordination can weaken the army, so too can labeling entire groups as disobedient and dispensable damage the abilities of the IDF. Let's get rid of the threats and talk about what every Israeli shares. Let's talk about loyalty to our country and moral responsibility - principles with which soldiers who put their lives on the line can certainly identify. I call on soldiers struggling with this issue to understand that it is not morally justifiable to refuse evacuation orders when such refusals weaken the entire military institution and endanger all Israelis. As a member of Knesset and a resident of Judea, I feel the tension, the uncertainty about the coming months. But I am fully confident that the unity of our citizens behind the government, and the military and moral strength of the IDF, will together ensure our security and success. The writer is a member of Knesset and Director General of the Israel Beiteinu party. She is also a member of the Knesset Committee for Internal Affairs and the Knesset Finance Committee.