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IRF Statement on the Refusal of Israeli Soldiers to Follow Orders to Evacuate Communities

The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), the newly formed organization of Modern Orthodox rabbis, views with grave concern the recent incidents of religious soldiers in the IDF engaging in public political activity indicating that they would refuse legally issued orders to evacuate Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

We fully concur with the sentiments expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Organization of Yeshivat Hesder who have strongly condemned this phenomenon as detrimental to the long term strength of the IDF and the State of Israel. We especially call on those few rabbinic voices in the religious-Zionist community who have encouraged refusal to rethink their positions and the harm that such attitudes can bring to the house of Israel. As religious-Zionists we also view the call for refusal of legitimate orders in these instances as coming dangerously close to the halakhic injunction against moreid be-malkhut, undermining the authority of a duly constituted Jewish state and government. 

The IRF rejects refusal of legally issued orders of the democratically elected government of Israel whether carried out by those on the left or on the right of the political spectrum out of political conviction. Only orders that are blatantly illegal as defined by the IDF code of ethics should be a legitimate cause for refusal. 

We would ideally hope that, God forbid, if any confrontations with Israeli citizens ever occur in the future that Israeli police forces and not the soldiers of the IDF be used. However, if the government deems it necessary for public safety and the carrying out of its legal obligations to deploy IDF units that cool heads prevail and the rule of law would carry the day. 

For further info please contact Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot at 212-666-0036.

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