Insubordination on ideological grounds is permissible, MK David Rotem, the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, said at a conference on Thursday.
The remark came about a month after Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett sparked a political storm when he declared on a talk show that he would refuse orders to evacuate Jews from their homes. He later backtracked, insisting that orders must always be obeyed, but it seems that the issue of insubordination is still very much alive in the political debate.
During a political panel held at Sha'arei Mishpat College in Hod Hasharon on Thursday, three Knesset candidates voiced support for insubordination — Yisrael Beytenu's Rotem, Aryeh Eldad of Strong Israel and Labor's Merav Michaeli — each one with their own ideological grounds. Rotem said, "I think that ideological insubordination is permissible. I think that when a soldier says, 'I don't want to serve in occupied territories because it goes against my ideology,' he should be accommodated."
Former journalist Merav Michaeli, who is currently situated in the no. 4 position on the Labor Knesset list, went even further, arguing that laws shouldn't always be blindly followed. "When a person gets to the point where he or she feels the need to refuse orders, it is a deep, fundamental thing that touches the very being and a person's ability to live with himself," she said.
"Blindly following the law is problematic, and should not be upheld at all costs. The Israeli Right is constantly inciting, not necessarily by means of insubordination but through legislation. They use [the political process] to delegitimize the targets of their incitement, and on the way they incite against the courts," Michaeli said.
On the other end of the political spectrum, Strong Israel's Eldad said that he agrees with the formula once proposed by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: If a soldier feels that he can't carry out a specific command, he needs to tell his commander, and be ready to face the consequences. "I will urge soldiers to refuse orders in this case, just like I urged soldiers to refuse orders during the withdrawal from Gaza [in 2005]," Eldad said.