Brothers in Arms founder Ron Reshef and Eitan Herzl in an interview on his weekend program with Tal Shalev 21.9.23/Stills: Reuven Castro
"The prime minister is the one who moved the arena abroad," said Ron Scharf of the Brothers in Arms reservist protest organization, when asked whether the demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the United States are not the slaughter of a sacred cow. "He slams everyone and incites. As soon as his policy doesn't work, he calls the demonstrators the PLO and Iran."
Scharf founded the organization together with Eitan Herzl. Both, like Netanyahu, are graduates of Sayeret Matkal. In an interview at the Walla Studio! To the program "His Weekend" broadcast on Walla Plus. They claim that the protest against the prime minister abroad is more than legitimate. "Try to bring Netanyahu here, you can't," Scharf continues. "He transferred it to the American arena."
"I just saw an article from the days of the Oslo Accords with Bibi, in which he explains why it is legitimate to do hasbara abroad," Herzl continues. "We are in a state of emergency and want to do everything possible to save."
"I'm indifferent, it's so far-fetched that he says PLO," Scharf clarified because he did not take the prime minister's insult personally. "It's like saying Amalek, he no longer knows who he's lying to and in what language." Scharf and Herzl chose not to fly to the United States. "There's a lot of work here as well, but the guys are doing a great job in New York. It's both organized and spontaneous, a combination of everything. The protest crosses borders, both American Jews and Israelis in the United States understand that the Zionist dream is in danger," Scharf says.
Herzl adds: "The Jews there are quite confused, they are used to automatically being in favor of Israel. Now something is undermining."
Scharf: "There is something here that has to do with the Jewish people and the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, as a Jewish and democratic state. There are many Israelis there who can vote and will come to vote as part of the bloc that has awakened. The State of Israel is in existential danger, they see it and wake up."
Herzl: "Half of the people in Israel and half in the United States, and the State of Israel is critical to us and to them. They understand it and say it. They want to be proud of Israel, to feel that the country represents their values. They feel it's cracked and it's important for them to fix it."
"Israelis in the United States also understand that the Zionist dream is in danger." Demonstration outside the Biden-Netanyahu meeting in New York/official website, Omer Kaplan
According to them, the activities of "Brothers in Arms" are aimed at defending the country and saving it from deterioration. "Every protest is a brick in the wall of defense," Scharf says. "It affects the public here, the liberal public ahead of the elections, Biden, the Likudniks here. There is a real split in the Likud. There is no majority within the Likud to continue the reform, and Netanyahu knows that."
If there is no majority to continue the reform, why not return to serve? What are we waiting for?
Scharf: We are waiting to shelve the reasonableness and ensure in law that it does not proceed without broad consensus.
Herzl: We're dying to go back to serving and volunteering, it's in our DNA. We look at actions, not words. With Netanyahu, we understood that words and actions are something else. When there are real acts, we will be the first to volunteer immediately.
Will there be peace with Saudi Arabia? It changes something.
Herzl: We welcome it, we support the agreement with Saudi Arabia, but it has nothing to do with the regime coup being carried out here.
Scharf: What is the coup riding on? About the ultra-Orthodox who want the evasion law, the Messianic religious who want a halachic state, and about Netanyahu's corruption. We are demonstrating regime change. They are changing the system of government in order to promote these sectoral interests.
In practice, Netanyahu will mess it up. Let's move on to talking about Saudi Arabia and the coup will be forgotten. Coup laws will be pushed aside, it could take months. Will you continue not to serve and protest?
Resin:There are some critical points in the near future. One is the court's decision, we'll see how the government responds to the decision. Second is the draft law, they demand an override clause to pass the evasion law. The third is the convening of the Judicial Appointments Committee. Let's wait and see.
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"To serve and volunteer - in our DNA." Scharf (right) and Herzl at the Walla Studio!/Reuven Castro
The "60 Minutes" interview? "There were statements that could have been more precise"
They call the U.S. article, which aired on the popular TV show "60 Minutes," a success, despite "statements that could have been more precise," such as the controversial statement by Shira Etting, a former pilot, who implied that the Air Force was firing bombs "knowing they were going to kill children."
Resin: It's demagoguery. She didn't say that there are such orders, she meant and said that there is a lot of power in the hands of pilots and they have to understand the moral drive behind these orders and there is often collateral damage. She didn't reveal America to anyone here. Always when they say their child is dead, it's hard and painful for everyone. It's not a game where words are mixed. I back it 100%.
Herzl: We know Shira, we meet with pilots. Let's address the big message – they say, 'We must trust 100% whoever sends us – that the operation is accurate, correct and moral, and that the government of Israel and the state stand behind it. We can trust whoever sends us.'
"Backs her 100 percent." Shira Etting/Reuven Castro
When our best sons say in English that they are taking orders that are not necessarily moral, that involve killing children, it drops the ground. It causes harm.
Herzl: You know the pilots and you know sorties that were canceled at the last minute because of uninvolved people they identified, that's the nature of the Air Force. Very careful and precise.
Scharf: The pilots rely on the judicial system to criticize their dispatchers and them, and they won't be able to go abroad in a moment.
Scharf: It's no secret that I don't vote right. I served in the territories, defended more settlements no less than any other right-winger. We have always carried out government policy, right or left it doesn't matter. We are talking here about regime change. There hasn't been such a thing yet, and we're against it.
Herzl: On the eve of Yom Kippur, we deal with questions of morality and justice. When we hear a Knesset member like Sun Har Melech say about a Jewish terrorist that he is righteous. Not even 'let's examine his actions, maybe he's innocent.' When there is such a Knesset member and a minister who calls for the erasure of Huwara, it is inconsistent with the moral values on which we were raised.
You serve an undemocratic regime in at least half of the State of Israel, but you had no problem with that. Suddenly you were harmed by reasonableness and Jewish democracy, is that a reason to protest and refuse to serve?
Scharf: We believe that the basic layer is a Jewish and democratic state, above which there are many problems. I let the occupation, the Jewish presence in the territories, call it whatever you want. There are many more problems, we are not diminishing, everyone will have to deal with it, both right and left, and for that we need democracy.
Herzl: An appropriate analogy - when a sick person arrives at the hospital after an accident, first of all he needs to be stabilized, then we will treat the other diseases.
"I defended settlements no less than any right-winger." Ron Scharf/Reuven Castro
Some members of Scharf and Herzl's reserve team blame their actions, which they feel contribute to the rift in the nation. "The army is torn, the country is torn, 80% of Israelis are anxious," Scharf says. "They blame us, but who is responsible in the country for resilience? About the army? About the economy? What has this government done? Everything is falling apart." Herzl adds: "It's convenient to blame us, the steering wheel is not in our hands."
Maybe you're violent because of your background, too aggressive? Maybe keeping people away?
Herzl: We are not violent, and we were not in military service either. The protest is also non-violent. It may be cheeky, challenging, daring, but it is by no means violent. This is how we brief all the participants before every activity: listen to the security forces. In every friction we raise our hands in the air deliberately, no policemen were injured as a result of a confrontation with us. We are not violent.
What needs to happen for you to return to the server?
Scharf: In our view, we are a country in the transition from democracy to dictatorship, it is no longer really a democracy. There is a profound influence, and we know this mainly in the Likud, and in the coalition elsewhere, our actions do do something. People want to mend the rift, to return the army to competence. I'm convinced it helps. What needs to happen is the elimination of the grounds of reasonableness and an unequivocal decision that progress only with broad agreements. It's so easy, everyone wants it. There are already agreements, but Yariv Levin, who is hated in the Likud, torpedoes this. Hijack the Likud, I call on the Likudniks here: the extremists have kidnapped your Likud.
Herzl: Outlines were presented that we can relate to many of them and there is broad agreement on them. If they succeed in adopting the outlines, we will be the first to return. We keep getting requests to return from the unit's commanders.
"The protest may be brazen – but not violent." Brothers in Arms outside the home of Yariv Levin/Flash 90, Jonathan Zindel
"If they adopt the outlines, we will be the first to return." Eitan Herzl/Reuven Castro
לשאלה האם נוצר קשר בינם לבין ראש הממשלה נתניהו הם עונים בשלילה.
הרצל: נתניהו יודע בדיוק מה אנחנו רוצים, אמרנו את זה על כל במה. אנחנו לא רוצים דיבורים, הבטחות ולחיצות ידיים לא יעזרו. רוצים לראות מעשים. שיעמוד פה ויתחייב מול עם ישראל בעברית, זה יראה אחרת.
שרף: לפחות שיגיד שיציית לפסיקת בג"ץ, זה המינימום. אנשים בארה"ב, ששם הדמוקרטיה כל כך יצוקה, לא מבינים שיש פה ממשלה שאומרת שהיא לא תציית לחוק. לנו יש מעגל הגנה אחד שזה בג"ץ, ואותו רוצים רוטמן ולוין לחטוף ולהשתלט עליו, ונתניהו נגרר אחריה.
הרצל: בארה"ב מסתכלים עלינו, רואים איך שהמחאה מתנהגת ואני חושב שזה מעסיק אותם מאוד. איך הם יעשו את זה בתורם.
שרף: אנחנו מבטיחים שאת אותה אנרגיה שאנחנו משקיעים במחאה - נשקיע באיחוי הקרעים. אני מאמין שעם ישראל רוצה לאחות. יש לו דבק להתחבר. מי שאחראי יודע מה צריך לעשות.
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