So, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, the settler rabbi who was encouraging soldiers to disobey orders to dismantle outposts, appears to have backed down. But according to a surprising new poll, there are plenty of Israelis who think that insubordination in the army is okay.
Jewish Israelis were asked if they deny the right of right-wing soldiers the option of refusing to participate in evacuating Jewish settlements in the territories. Some 29% of respondents agree to soldiers taking this route; 63% were against. There was also strong support for left-wing soldiers refusing to serve in the territories, with 18% of respondents supporting them and 77% coming out against.
The really fascinating thing about this poll, a monthly Tel Aviv University “War and Peace Index,” is that it shows support for left-wingers refusing to serve in the territories is strong among a group that rarely shows much sympathy for the left — Haredim. With 32% of respondents this community endorsing this “right,” support was higher here than among the religious (31%), the traditional (20%) and the secular (12%). In fact, given that most left-wingers refusing to serve in the territories are secular, all these statistics are surprising.
So what is going on here? The breakdown of support for subordination by right-wing soldiers may offer a clue. Here the rates of support stand at 66% among the Haredim, 50% among the religious, 25% among the traditional, and 12% among the secular. What we seem to see is a surprising case of right-to-left solidarity, with the two groups most strongly in support of right-wing insubordination rallying behind left-wing insubordination in a bid to be consistent.