Barak: Hesder Flap is a ‘Machlokes L’Sheim Shomayim’ that is “Sofah Lehiskayeim’


barakJust days after Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his decision to remove Yeshiva Har Bracha from the Hesder roster in response to Har Bracha rosh yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Melamed voicing¬†support for insubordination in the army, Barak said that “Soldiers must perform all commands of their officers, unless it is illegal. Soldiers have one commander, who gives orders to soldiers, not their teacher, university professor or rosh yeshiva… Soldiers are also civilians and a soldier can express his attitude and outlook as a citizen. But, once he is in uniform, he may not protest or demonstrate politically. There is no room in the army for politics.”

The comments were made yesterday during a visit to Rishon Letzion.

“Military obligations and insubordination do not work together and we’re not going to tolerate it,” Barak said.

“After I learned of the case, I studied the recommendations of the heads of the IDF and I concluded that the correct thing to do is to stop this arrangement with this yeshiva. These are excellent people, but the arrangement with this yeshiva needed to be stopped. All other yeshivos are welcome.

Barak added: “Although I am not wearing a kipah, I have the greatest respect for mesoras Yisroel. The Torah states that we may have disagreements, and more than that, that a machlokes that is l’sheim Shomayim is sofah lehiskayeim.”

But ultimately, whether a soldier leans to the right or the left politically, said Barak, he is expected to follow the orders of his superiors, even when it contradicts his worldview.

As we reported this morning, the IDF will be giving a clear ultimatum to soldiers learning at Yeshiva Har Bracha, according to a letter obtained by Army Radio this morning.

“Soldiers will be given a period of 60 days to switch to another Hesder yeshiva,” read the letter. “Any soldier who refuses to move to another yeshiva within the given period will leave the Hesder track and serve the full three years.”

 {Yair Israel}


  1. Barak, as a soldier, unerstands that soldiers must work as part of a team. Otherwise orders which they do not know the reason for may not be carried out. However, they cannot always know the reason. This attitude of his is legitimate. He must feel that this is absolutely crucial.

    On the other hand, responsible soldiers know that they like all of us ultimately have to be mekayem the torah above all. They face very difficult shailos and nisyonos related to this matter.

    Perhaps someone or some group can try to explain
    the mindset and reasoning of Yiddin who try to be mekayem torah umitzvos to D.M. Barak. It may take a while, but it is worth a try. Of course I only see things from a distance, but I hope someone will take me up.

    This is besides the question of whether Hesder is a good idea lechatchilloh.