“The percentage of religious men among the senior IDF officers grew exponentially in the past decade. By 2005, half of the junior command and approximately 30 percent of the senior officers were religious, and, for the first time in Israel’s history, four members of the general staff wore skullcaps.” (Yoram Peri, “Land versus State: Israel and its Army after the Disengagement”)
The booklets distributed by the Israel Defense Forces rabbinate during the combat in Gaza, which Amos Harel wrote about in Haaretz yesterday (“IDF rabbi told troops fighting in Gaza: We must not cede a single inch of Israel), and the “Jewish Awareness” publications distributed by IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, prove once again that the rabbi is giving his position a new and alarming interpretation … Rontzki distributes sermons written by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner that preach … the killing of civilians … In such an atmosphere, it is no wonder that extreme right-wing organizations are also smuggling into IDF bases sermons by Yitzhak Ginsburg, the rabbi of the yeshiva at Joseph’s Tomb. Ginsburg wrote the book “Baruch Hagever,” which praises the massacre by Baruch Goldstein against Arabs in the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994, and he is considered the spiritual mentor of the most violent and extremist settlers. Thus, under the aegis of the army’s chief rabbi, IDF soldiers are being exposed to chauvinist and racist incitement … (“A rabbinate gone wild,” Haaretz, Jan 27, 2009)
Orthodox [Judaic] soldiers are among the most motivated personnel in the IDF, with disproportionately high numbers volunteering for elite combat units and reserve duty, according to experts … (Jerusalem Post, Matthew Wagner and Yaakov Katz, Aug. 6, 2007)
“When there is a clash between a directive in the spirit of the [IDF ethical] code and an order of Jewish law, it is clear that one must listen to the opinion of Jewish law.” (IDF Chief Rabbi, Colonel Rabbi Avi Ronsky as quoted in Haaretz, Feb. 21, 2006)
“Part of my job as the chief military rabbi, perhaps the central part, is to reconnect the soldiers with the values of Judaism.” (IDF Chief Rabbi, Colonel Rabbi Avi Ronsky, By Ariela Ringel-Hoffman – YNet, Oct 17, 2006)
IDF’s fervently Orthodox unit
is seeking a few good men
By Tom Tugend Published: 04/30/2007
An Israeli infantry battalion of fervently Orthodox soldiers plans to launch an advertising campaign this summer in major Jewish newspapers in the United States and Britain seeking more foreign recruits …
“I love the fact that I can fully live out my Jewish values while at the same time protecting Israel,” Taylor says …
Theoretically, any man — no women, of course — who meets these basic criteria can join the battalion, but in practice some 70 percent come from fervently Orthodox homes in Bnei Brak and other haredi enclaves.
Time is set aside for daily Talmud study and the food is glatt kosher. No women are allowed on the Jordan Valley base, but on Shabbat married soldiers can meet their wives outside the base.
“Nahal Haredi has the highest proportion of Diaspora volunteers of any Israeli unit,” Klebanow said. “They come to us with high motivation, and many subsequently make aliyah. Sometimes they are more Zionistic than native-born Israelis.” …
“Our enemies learn one way, and the one and only way is through the language of war and the language of the sword.”
Inside the IDF Photo Essay: Purim in the IDF