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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Secular Coercion

Too Many Religious Officers and a Constitution

When a drafter of Israel's Constitution says there is a problem because too many IDF commanders are religious, we need to worry about what kind of Constitution he is drafting.
Religious-Soldiers

In an interview last week with Makor Rishon, Dr. Arye (Arik) Carmon, head of the Israel Democracy Institute said,

“as the number of religious commanders in the army increases, we’re in for bigger problems.”

Dr. Carmon is not only the president of the Israel Democracy Institute, but he is one of the senior members of a group of people trying to put together a Constitution (“by Concensus”) for the state of Israel. A Constitution that is supposed to represent all of Israeli society and our shared values.

HIS CLARIFICATION

Following the publication of his statement last week, Carmon felt that there was a need to clarify what he really meant.

Carmon said (with my comments added in [italics]):

“As someone who was injured during my army service [yes, because that now gives any statement he makes automatic legitimacy], and whose sons fight shoulder to shoulder with their brother’s [see previous comment], the religious soldiers, the alumni of the National-Religious educational system, I have much respect for them, to the soldiers and commanders in the IDF whose contributions to the security of Israel are priceless [did he mention that some of his best friends are religious too?].It’s important for me to clarify that in the heat of the interview, my words were not understood properly [Actually, I think we did understand them properly].

I meant, that as long as there is no solution for the source of the authority in the IDF in general, and specifically, including the integration of women [because listening to women sing, is the biggest problem the army faces], the problems will grow and increase. As the number of religious soldiers and commanders grow, since the authority of their Rabbis is what rules for them, the size of the problem will get larger. More and more officers and soldiers will find themselves indecisive when they face this conflict.

Any other way to understand my words is mistaken.”

I’m honestly not sure what is worse, the original statement or his clarification.

Carmon is clearly afraid of two things, that the soldiers have a moral authority and value system that he doesn’t share, that supersedes blindly following orders, and that religious soldiers are blocking his coercive goals of secular-democratic supremacy.

His first problem is that religious soldiers listen to a higher moral authority, and he is afraid of the conflict that religious soldiers might have, especially if there are too many of them, and how that will affect their following orders.

Though logically that doesn’t make sense, because if there are more religious soldiers who share a common moral thought process, the conflict is unlikely to trickle down, as obviously immoral and illegal orders will be identified and stopped higher up in hierarchy – as they should be.

But, Carmon is thinking of two specific issues – one he states, which is the integration of women, and the other, which I believe he implies, is not following orders in case of another Expulsion/Disengagement – the classic Israeli argument of moral/religious right vs. the tyranny of the majority- the Jewish-Democratic state conflict.

Carmon has firmly placed himself firmly on one side of that argument, the secular side that immorally kicked out 8000 Jews from their homes and let a terrorist state develop in Gaza, and would do so again in Judea and Samaria if they could.

ONE SIDED CONCERN

Yet Carmon apparently doesn’t have a problem with too many left-wing pilots or reservists, hundreds of whom famously signed onto petitions saying they won’t follow orders to attack our enemies. You would think that he would find an identifiable group who seditiously and openly called for disobeying orders to attack the enemy to be far more worrisome than religious soldiers and officers, with a healthy and respected value system. But as you’ll see later in the article, he doesn’t.

To my knowledge, Carmon has never said that as the number of Left-wing pilots grows, the problems will increase. No, he specifically said the problem is with too many religious commanders.

About the Author: JoeSettler blogs at The Muqata.blogspot.com and occasionally on his own blog at JoeSettler.blogspot.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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5 Responses to “Too Many Religious Officers and a Constitution”

  1. Israel must decide whether it will fully embrace a Torah Constitution or be a secular state. Meanwhile this quasi secular-religious state will continue to bring heavy tolls on Israeli citizens, continual criticism on its double standard policies, and divide among all israel. What we all need is Mashiach. But short of that, a government not ruled by religious extremist. Keep State affairs separate from religious interest and entities.Let them be self supportive, without the subsidies of the Goverment.

  2. David Laloum says:

    The quotes misrepresented and misinterpreted in this article look at two things:

    1) The connection (or absence thereof) between ethical/moral behaviour and religion – ie: the fact that one follows a particular religious authorities "commands" does not per se make the actions ethical/moral – in fact it is an abnegation of moral judgement. (the lazy man lets someone else think for him!)
    The rabbi's that over the years have been jailed for crimes ranging from paedophilia to fraud demonstrate that religious titles/position are no measure of an individuals moral worth – and even less of the value of an individuals commands in terms of morality/ethics. Religious authorities have no monopoly on ethics (or lack thereof) – and therefore it is ludicrous to attempt to connect the two.

    2) The question of Authority – which is where many Haredim follow all commands given by their religious authority / rav / Gadol (see article at http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/do-you-practice-gadolatry/2013/01/31/).
    This puts the public services and especially the defence forces in the difficult situation where some individuals will follow the commands of an external "authority" in preference to both the chain of command and the dictates of their own ethics/morals.
    There are already in place valid mechanisms for soldiers to refuse to follow orders that infringe on ethical/moral areas – but how does one cope with a soldier who refuses to follow orders because his "Gadol" said so?

    3) Kol Isha – this seems like a bit of a red herring in the discussion!

  3. Rachel Cohen says:

    this would be laughable if not sad. seriously! they badger the religious for not doing army service. then they complain that too many relgious in the army! what next?

  4. Too bad you left out the cogently-argued parts about this traitor's defence of his fellow traitors (5th column foreign/enemy-funded subversives, underminers, etc.) you pompus stupid ass. Btw, why are many Anglos so primitively write the plural form of words with an apostrophe ("rabbi's"). Idiot. Jarring.

  5. Ahron Ebert says:

    Why do you call him an Anglo? He is from Australia not England where Anglos and Saxons come from.

Comments are closed.

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