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Letter from Dr. David Matar to IDF

Summary ... "This insane order is patently illegal, and therefore every soldier, Jew or non-Jew, should adamantly refuse to obey. The IDF was founded to defend the people and land of Israel by fighting Arab enemies - not by attacking Jewish brothers."

To Chief Manpower Branch IDF

General Elazar Stern

Dear Sir,

My name is Dr David Matar, ID # 015484298, army ID # 4662007, rank: Medical Officer.

I have served as a chairman of a medical committee at the IDF Jerusalem Recruitment Office for the last 15 years, beginning with my regular duty for a year and a half in '89-'90, when I served as Chief Medical Officer in the Jerusalem Recruitment Office, and since then, as a reserve officer on one-day duty, that has usually exceeded thirty days a year. I am supposed to serve, according to the current law, until January 2006, that is another 14 months.

To my great chagrin and sorrow, the Knesset has approved the so-called "disengagement plan" and "evacuation-compensation" law of PM Ariel Sharon. As you know, the term "disengagement" is a euphemism for the forcible expulsion of more than 8000 Jews from their homes and lifework in the Gaza district and the Northern Shomron, and the uprooting and destruction of tens of flourishing communities, including every last synagogue and cemetery.

The Prime Minister has charged the army with the overall responsibility for the execution of his plan, even though the actual act of expulsion is supposed to be carried out by the Border Patrol and Police. The media is full of reports on serious preparations by the army to carry out Sharon's program, including detailed planning, intelligence gathering, training of picked army units on "dummy settlements", and the construction of detention camps for citizens who dare to resist, all with the openly declared intention to use any and all means to suppress any resistance of the Jewish residents to expulsion from their homes and destruction of their life's work.

All this means that the army hierarchy has received and accepted orders to declare war on a large group of innocent and loyal citizens, to define them operationally as a hostile target, and to break into their homes by force, in order to drag out men, women and children. These are preparations for battle, by any definition, featuring planned violence by our security forces against Jewish citizens, which will degenerate very quickly into tragedies reminiscent of the Altalena episode. These self-inflicted losses do not include the heavy casualties in our midst from Arab fire during, and especially after, the period that the plan is carried out.

This insane order is patently illegal, and therefore every soldier, Jew or non-Jew, should adamantly refuse to obey. The IDF was founded to defend the people and land of Israel by fighting Arab enemies - not by attacking Jewish brothers. In addition, as a religious Jew who tries to observe the Torah's commandments, I view any order that conflicts with the commandment of building the Land of Israel as equivalent to a command that attempts to impose the desecration of the Sabbath or the eating of swine. Such orders cross a red line, since they force the soldier to choose between his commitment to the most fundamental ideological principles, as opposed to his loyalty to the institutions of army and state.

Even though I, personally, as a doctor in the Jerusalem Recruitment office, do not expect to receive orders to uproot our brothers from Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron, I am not even now able, emotionally and ethically, to serve in a hostile army that has declared war on me, on my family, on my friends and neighbors, and a large part of our people. This remains true even if a thousand "disengagement" laws are passed by all 120 Knesset members, with the combined sanction of a popular referendum, Israel's Supreme Court, the U.N., and the U.S. State Department.

Therefore, I am hereby returning my army reserves card. I am, of course, ready to bear the consequences of this act - including a court-martial.

I am actually looking forward to an opportunity to raise my views in a public forum, so that others, who serve in the reserves in non-combat positions, can be inspired to do likewise. It goes without saying, that if Sharon's plan is officially shelved or cancelled, that I will be happy to return to serve as I have faithfully done these past 15 years.

Dr. David Matar, IDF Medical Officer

[ Published: November 17, 2004 ]

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