Following a wave of criticism from the Likud and Center-Left parties over comments he made on Thursday night, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett called a press conference on Saturday night to clarify that he opposes refusing military orders.I'm afraid the PM is going to have to answer seriously here, and tell why defeatism is acceptable. And I should note that Netanyahu is someone who so far has made any unambiguous condemnations of the PLO's adherence to Islamic sharia, or condemned the oppression of women, or even condemned Islamists in those areas for holding Jewish wives hostage. Any politician who isn't willing to confront or address serious issues like those hardly has a case to make on military matters either.
On Thursday night, Bennett said in an interview on Channel 2 that he would ask his commander to excuse him from evacuating settlements.
Bennett accused the Likud of "pouncing on my words, twisting them and making it look like I called for people to refuse orders just for a quarter of a seat in the next Knesset."
"They harmed the unity of the IDF. Thousands of young people could think that I called to refuse orders and take a mistaken example from me. I did not call to refuse orders. I have been serving in the IDF for 22 years as a fighter and a commander, and I never called to refuse orders - every intelligent [television] viewer understood that," he stated.
The Bayit Yehudi leader added that he spoke from his heart, and does not apologize, because a military command to remove a Jew or an Arab from his home is a human rights violation that would put soldiers in a moral dilemma.
"I pray with all my heart that a command like this will never be given again, but I want to say clearly: Every soldier must fulfill orders," he said.
Bennett concluded his speech by saying that the fact that the Likud is dealing with the issue of refusing orders shows that the party could be planning a second disengagement and to evacuate more settlers.
"Mr. Prime Minister - yes or no? Do you plan to uproot Jews from their homes gain?" he asked. "[The Bayit Yehudi] will be a big, significant party that will prevent a situation in which IDF soldiers will face such inhumane dilemmas again."
Bennett is a man who served in the army for at least 2 decades, and has been quite a success in technology business. That's something to admire about him as well.
Update: on the plus side about Netanyahu, he has defended the "settlement" construction:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended the planned construction of thousands of apartments in settlements in and near Jerusalem.And if they're not going to recognize Jerusalem, and if Sky is going to keep using that "occupied west bank" propaganda, then I don't see why I should offer them any respect.
'What future awaits Israel if we cannot build in Gilo and Ramat Shlomo?' he asked in the interview with Channel 2 television.
Gilo and Ramat Shlomo - located within the Israeli-drawn municipal boundaries of Jerusalem but beyond the 'green line' that separates Israel from the occupied West Bank - are two of the areas where the Netanyahu government plans to build.
The plans to build there, as well as in the E1 area east of Jerusalem, and Givat Hamatos, to the south, have sparked a storm of international criticism.
'So we, the state of the Jews, cannot build in our capital? I don't accept that,' Netanyahu said.
The international community has not recognised Israel's claim that Jerusalem is its capital.