The IDF (Israel Defense Force) recently forcibly removed two families, along with their supporters, from the city of Hevron. The order was given by the Israeli government. Prior to the eviction, however, several soldiers refused to participate in the act. An IDF spokesperson said that only 12 soldiers refused orders outright, but reports from the field indicate that a total of almost 30 soldiers said that they would not actively carry out the orders. "The IDF is trying to hush up and hide the phenomenon of refusal of orders," according to Baruch Marzel, a resident of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hevron. "It is much more widespread than is being reported. We are talking about scores and possibly hundreds of soldiers who are interested in various degrees of refusal."
First, a little background. The families lived in the old marketplace adjacent to Hevron's Avraham Avinu neighborhood, where nine families and a yeshiva were located prior to an agreement reached with the IDF in 2005. Hevron spokesman David Wilder explains, "The community was given a firm promise, in the form of an agreement with the commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, General Yair Golan, that following our voluntary exit from the homes, families would soon be allowed to 'legally' return. That was a year and a half ago. The agreement was voided by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, using the excuse that Golan was not authorized to make the agreement. This, despite the fact that the General was on and off the phone with his bosses in the Defense Ministry during the meeting with Hevron representatives in order to receive their OK to the compromise." These two families did not leave, however, as they figured once they left they would not be allowed back, which is what happened with the other seven families.
So now the government reneged on their promise and ordered the remaining families thrown out, which is what the IDF did Tuesday (August 7, 2007). And pretty violently, I must add. Pictures can be seen of the expulsion from the Shalhevet neighborhood (the Shuk) in Hevron, and the destruction of the Shalhevet neighborhood. Additional details can be found on Arutz Sheva. (I'll have a complete report this weekend.)
In the meantime, five of the soldiers who refused to evict the families have already been tried and sentenced! They have been confined for 28 days to their base. They face a monetary fine and will likely be removed from combat duty altogether. According to the IDF spokesperson, "the GOC Central Command, Major General Gadi Shamni, decided that the soldiers in question will stand disciplinary trials and will be removed from combat duty. Major General Shamni stated that 'this phenomenon endangers the foundations on which the IDF operates, being the people's army in a democratic state, which is obligated to carry out any mission given to it'".
So these soldiers chose to obey the commandments of God — who said to dwell in the land — instead of the orders of man, who said to abandon the land. May the Lord bless them for their actions! May all of Israel rejoice!
Part of the problem in Israel is that it's founding — by God — is as a theocracy, not a democracy. It is to be God's rules by which Israel is governed, not man's. That means you don't remove Jews from their God-given land (take note government leaders in the United States). Sure, sometimes there are laws set down by man that must be obeyed. However, if they conflict with God's law — His Torah — then it's God's laws that take precedence, as in this case.
The IDF spokesperson went on to say, "The IDF views such incidents with severity and will handle them accordingly." I believe the same thing applies to God — He also views such incidents with severity and will handle them accordingly. As Professor Arieh Zaritsky noted, "The hero-soldiers were punished by their superiors/commanders — the latter will be punished by God!"
"Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous ordinances. Those who love Your Torah have much peace, and they have no stumbling block." Psalm 119.164-165