A group of leading rabbis have called upon members of the Israel Defense Force to disobey orders if they are asked to dismantle illegal settlements on the West Bank. “We call on all security personnel to refuse expulsion orders. A soldier or policeman who is asked to take part in an uprooting operation is obligated to refuse this order, which goes against the Torah.” Their statement came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak initiated a plan to dismantle 26 outposts deemed to have been built illegally. During the past decades there has been a sharp rise in the number of religious Israelis who have made serving in the armed forces their career. In so doing, they are altering the historic secular foundation of Israeli armed forces. Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitch, reflected this change by expressing the view, “I think it is a crying shame that not one single senior officer resigned rather than take part in the expulsion of Jews from Gus Katif.
Israelis have to decide whether they want a nation in which non-elected religious leaders decide policy or whether they wish to continue the democratic heritage of the Jewish people in the Middle East. Allowing a theocracy to control the nation is leading down the road to disaster and transforming Israel into another Iran or Saudi Arabia.