IDF chief says soldiers have a duty to disobey illegal orders

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. Credit: IDF.

( In effort to maintain transparency in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel’s army chief on Tuesday said that soldiers have a duty to disobey illegal orders.

“Any soldier who enlists in the military is given a lesson about unlawful orders,” said IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot at an academic conference in Herzliya, Israel. “It’s not a right, but an obligation not to carry out illegal orders. We explain to soldiers that we demand that they not carry out illegal orders.”

“I’m not talking about the hundreds of soldiers who later make statements to the press,” he added. “But it’s important to understand that it’s a duty [to disobey illegal orders].”

Eizenkot said the IDF will be “stronger” and “better” by meeting with members of Breaking the Silence, the NGO that promotes criticism of the Israeli military through the testimonies of former soldiers, to follow up on claims made by the discharged soldiers.

“We expect from our soldiers that our values be adhered to in real-time, and not that they break their silence three years later at some conference. One has to carry out legitimate missions in a manner that is compatible with the IDF spirit. Where this does not occur, it’s a soldier’s obligation, not his right, to desist,” said Eizenkot.

Posted on February 9, 2016 .