Former IDF deputy chief calls for mass refusal to serve if ultra-Orthodox aren’t drafted

Far-left former lawmaker and deputy IDF chief of staff calls on new recruits to refuse to serve in the military if judicial reform efforts, ultra-Orthodox draft exemptions continue.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Former MK Yair Golan of the far-left Meretz party, who once served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli military, said that parents should refuse to send their children to the IDF if the current government continues pursuing judicial reform and maintains a long-standing policy of granting draft deferments to ultra-Orthodox men studying in yeshiva.

“We have a lot of tools left in our hands. Up until now it has been a soft fight. But non-violent disobedience has three main tools – demonstration, strike and civil disobedience,” Golan said in a recent podcast appearance.

“It should be clear to this government that the reservists simply will not show up for duty. A country that sends me to risk my life is obligated to me, and if the government reneges on its commitment to its citizens and if it denies me my basic freedoms as a citizen, there is no reason for me to serve this government.”

Golan, however, took his encouragement of refusals a step further, calling upon 18-year-olds who typically draft after graduating from high school to avoid military service.

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“The [new recruits] are part of the debate. Smotrich, Ben Gvir and Netanyahu should have no doubts: If this direction continues, they will see that the parents will come to the recruiting offices and say, ‘We will not give you our children.'”

“We will come to you and say very simply, if the ultra-Orthodox are not prepared to serve this army, we will certainly not serve a policy that deprives us of our civil rights, it will never happen,” he said.

Golan has a long history of making incendiary remarks against religiously observant and right-wing Israelis, having called settlers “despicable subhumans” – a term evoking Nazi-era terminology for Jews – and has equated the IDF’s treatment of Palestinians with the Third Reich in Germany.

In January 2023, Golan called for disruptive mass protests against the current right-wing government.

“We’re changing things. No more polite Saturday evening protests. No more lamentations and complaints. Just actions. Just results,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Businesses will be shut down, services will come to a halt, roads will be blocked, and this arrogant person who presumes to rule, with the help of corrupt, extreme, and dark forces will be made to realize that the people are sovereign.”