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THE ISRAEL REPORT

November/December 2000
An Israeli tank advances near Beit Jala

Letter of IDF officer's resignation as cannot guaranty evacuation

Note: Major (Res.) Chagai Eldar, a businessman in a high tech firm who served in the IDF reserves as commander of a special reconnaissance unit in Division 188 of the Armoured Corps, resigned after a stint of military duty in Judea and Samaria. His reasons are in a letter he wrote that appeared in Yediot Ahronot on November 6, 2000:
(Thanks to Yisrael Medad for the translation)
Ariel, Shalom!

The reconnaissance unit attached to the Division has finished its reserve duty just recently in the area of Judea and Samaria. During this period, I was witness to a number of incidents wherein the IDF and its commanders, acted in a fashion which runs against my conscience as well as my ability in the future to accept commands from these persons. Fundamental values such as not leaving the injured behind in the field, determination, courage and willingness to follow-through do not appear to be part of their system. I cannot look my soldiers straight in the eye and tell them with all confidence that on the day of battle that they will be backed up by the commanding echelon.

It seems that these values, too, are dependent upon political or diplomatic considerations. You know well how much work was invested these last few years in order to build up this elite unit and therefore, my leaving the company is most difficult for me. But, with all this, I cannot stand by on the sidelines and remain quiet.

I request that you free me from my command and I return the command bars that I respected and loved so much.

This letter is addressed to you, my direct commander, despite that you do not have any connection to that which my eyes saw during our reserve duty. My prayer is that this act will awaken the hierarchy to change, and to the return to values upon which IDF commanders were formerly educated. I ask your forgiveness, and that of the soldiers of the reconnaissance unit.

With thanks,
Major Chagai Eldar,
CC Reconnaissance Unit

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