Netanyahu warns on army 'insubordination'


Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made it clear that any party that supports disobeying army orders will not be included in the next coalition.

Mr Netanyahu is almost certain to form the next coalition after the election in January.

He was responding to comments by Naftali Bennett, head of the far-right Jewish Home. Mr Bennett’s party is expected to be the third biggest in the next Knesset parliament and is considered a natural coalition partner if Mr Netanyahu forms the government.

The young and charismatic Mr Bennett, who has a distinguished army record and still serves as an officer in the reserves, said in a television interview that he would rather go to prison than follow a military command to evict Jewish settlers from their homes, as happened during Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu promised that anyone who refuses an army command would not be a minister in his government.

“This is a serious issue. Israel’s existence is based on its army. The existence of the army is based on following orders,” he said.

“There can be no insubordination. Not from this side or from that side.”

Mr Bennett, who once served as Mr Netanyahu’s chief of political staff, lashed out against his attackers and accused Mr Netanyahu’s Likud of twisting his words for political gain.

“Likud and the political establishment pounced on my remarks, twisted my words, and created the impression that I called for insubordination. To gain another quarter of a Knesset seat, they undermined the army’s unity.”