Last update - 21:34 17/12/2009 Hesder rabbis: Torah law is above the army By Chaim Levinson, Haaretz Settlements Correspondent Tags: hesder yeshivas, Israel news Rabbis and teachers from Hesder yeshivas, which offer Torah studies alongside military service, released a letter to students in which they reiterated their assertion that soldiers must refuse orders if they are commanded to evacuate settlements, arguing that Torah law is above the Israel Defense Forces. The letter emphasizes the importance of enlisting to the military, but instructs soldiers to adhere to Jewish law when it conflicts with orders handed down from superiors. This letter comes as yeshiva heads closed ranks around Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, whose declarations in support of soldier insubordination caused Defense Minister Ehud Barak to oust his Har Bracha yeshiva from its hesder arrangement with the IDF. Advertisement "Unfortunately, the IDF has been used for purposes unrelated to Israel's defense and directly opposed to God's wishes for quite some time," the rabbis wrote in the letter. "This situation faces IDF soldiers with a contradiction between Jewish commandments and commanders' orders." "We are committed to teach that loyalty to the lord comes before any other loyalty, whether to the army or to the government," the rabbis went on to say. The document concluded with the rabbis' assertion that they are guiding their students to "be loyal soldiers through their commitment to the word of God." Earlier Thursday, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin addressed the rift between the IDF and the hesder yeshivas, calling on Barak to devise a solution and to avoid political motives.