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Monday, September 29, 2003

Inevitable Disobedience by Moshe Feiglin

Another seam in the Israeli social fabric came apart this week.

The boastful slogan coined by former Air Force Commander Ezer Weizmann: "The best men become pilots – and receive the best girls", reflected the elite of Israeli society – the IAF pilots. And now they have given a slap in the face to this society by declaring: "You are not moral".

What do people want from the pilots?

If the State of Israel has abandoned the elimination of the leadership of the Hamas terrorist organization in order not to harm "innocent people", why shouldn't the pilots do the same?

Morality isn't confined to a specific position. Why is Defense Minister Mofaz's morality better that that of the pilots?

The State of Israel arose on the basis of a set of values that inevitably led a thinking person to reach the views expressed in the pilots' letter. The guilt does not lie with them but with that set of values. In fact, those who signed the letter did us a favor, by forcing us to examine for ourselves our basic moral assumptions.

What gives a soldier in a checkpoint in Kalandia the right to check the bags of a local Arab? Not to shoot him, just check his bags?

The amazingly simple answer is: the ownership of the country. If this is our country, then we have the full right to be there and check anyone suspected of threatening our sovereignty. I have the right to ask a person wishing to stay in my home to identify himself, and I have the right to employ force against him if he refuses to leave. But if this is not our country, we have no right to invade the lives of the residents.

The State of Israel has declared that the heart of the country, the land of the Bible, the cradle of the Hebrew nation, is not ours, but that we have conquered it. In this we have destroyed the fundamental moral argument.

If so, how can the state justify its violent activities in the "territories" (even before mentioning the colonialism of the neighborhoods of Gilo and Ramot in Jerusalem).

Israel says that these are acts of self-defense. We have to check the trunk of the Peugeot or make targeted attacks on terrorist leaders because they are killing us. The moment they stop, we will also do so. In other words, our moral right is derived from the right of self-defense.

But this is a very weak argument. First of all, they claim that they are killing us because we are occupying their country. Until we leave, taking the last of our dead with us (as Mahmud Darwish said) we cannot make the claim of self-defense, because we are the attackers.

Secondly, the Israeli principle of self defense is based on the Western/ Christian principles of morality, in which self defense is permissible only for the weak against the strong. You cannot eliminate those who do not directly present a threat to you. You cannot defend yourself while at the same time killing women and children weaker than you.

These two principles, on the one hand the (lack of) sovereignty, and on the other hand, the Christian war morality, form the current basis for the moral ethic code of the IDF.

The State of Israel has itself adopted the principles that leave no alternative to thinking, principled people, who wish to be honest with themselves, other than to disobey orders. Until a revolution takes place in the ideological basis for the existence of the state, until we return to our basic Jewish principles, we cannot say that this is our country, and we cannot free ourselves from the bonds of Christian morality when trying to defend ourselves.

The result will be that Jewish children will die instead of Arab children, Israeli society will continue to disintegrate, and the IDF will rely on "robot" soldiers after it has lost the best of its combatants.
Moshe Feiglin is the head of the Jewish Leadership faction, Manhigut Yehudit, of the Likud.