Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

August 6 , 2007 Soldiers Refuse Orders to Evacuate Settlers

Today, a series of soldiers refused orders to participate in the removal of two families who established a home in Hebron without permission. The actions taken by these 10 soldiers, along with one officer, all members of the same Hesder unit, shook Israel. The soldiers were both pressured by some of their parents and others not to participate. The soldiers checked with the Rabbis of the Hesder Yeshivas from which they came. The soldiers were officially told to disobey the orders and not participate in the removal of the home. While a few Knesset members on the right supported the soldiersŐ decision to disobey, many others, including members of the national religious movement criticized them. Reserve General Yaacov Amidav stated that while he agreed with the political position of those who refused, he thinks doing anything that can hurt the only army we have is worse than removing any settlers. Amidav further stated, specifically, that because members of the national religious communities volunteer so often for difficult assignments in the army, they have no right to ever refuse an order. Amidav was concerned that the actions of these soldiers would now be used a justification for left leaning soldiers not to serve in the territories. This is something that largely has not happened.

These soldiersŐ actions has brought to fore, once again, the question of what to do with the Hesder Yeashivot. After the problems during the Gaza withdrawal, the army decided to break up the companies made up exclusively of Hesder Yeshiva students. Until now that has hardly happened.

Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian president Abbas met today in Jericho. After the meeting, Olmert announced that they would keep on meeting to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible. It has become increasingly impossible (as if it ever was possible) to predict where these meetings are going to lead. On one hand, it seems impossible that Olmert, who has no public support and Abbas, who has lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas could possibly reach agreements on issues that have eluded Israel and the Palestinians for a decade. On the other hand, Israel intelligence predicts that if an agreement is not reached within six month, Fatah will lose control of the West Bank to Hamas. So where does this leave the political situation? There will certainly be a great deal of talk of an agreement in the next few months, but where it will lead, is in doubt.

The government announced an agreement to increase the number of drugs that are paid for by health insurance. This agreement covers most of the drugs that were not covered until now and are believed to provide significant medical benefits.