A Slap in the Face of IDF’s Religious Soldiers

YERUSHALAYIM -

Tuesday night I was certain that war had broken out. Nothing less.

From the IDF came the word: “Get ready, the Chief of Staff is going to issue a special letter, on his personal stationery over his signature, containing a special message for all of the officers of the IDF.”

From my experience, letters such as this are issued when war is to be declared. Or some event of unusual importance.

Tuesday night it happened. The Chief of Staff announced that the IDF was going to remove the basis for the integration of national-religious soldiers in its ranks. The decision to transfer responsibility for Jewish education in the army from the rabbinate to the Reform, essentially, was made without proper consideration, as the military normally treats matters pertaining to religion. And so too the option of chareidim serving in the IDF came to a close.

It is hard to understand what happened to the IDF chief, one of the most perceptive of officers to fill the post, and especially as one with his own strong religious background.

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss is right in calling this “the demise of the military rabbinate.”

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Avihai Ronski in calling on the current IDF Chief Rabbi to resign.

It is impossible to rely on a military that will put Jewish matters into the hands of the Reform on any future questions of kashrus, for example. That is the basis of survival of religious soldiers, who have now received a resounding slap in the face.