The commander of the IDF’s Givati Brigade, Colonel Ofir Levy, has ordered his subordinates to instruct soldiers to shave, explaining they may not have a beard in his brigade, Arutz-7 reports. Family members of soldiers and rabbonim have filed complaints on behalf of frum soldiers serving in the infantry brigade.
According to the information available on the IDF Personnel Branch website, one of the justifications for a soldier having a beard is a “religious lifestyle”. It adds the beard must be neat and kempt and if a soldier in compulsory service shaves his beard, he will not be permitted to let it grow again.
Despite the clearly stated rules by the military, officers have already passed along the colonel’s order, instructing them to remove their beards. In addition, Colonel Levy stated that anyone insisting on keeping a beard will have to appear before the deputy brigade commander and he will decide on a case-to-case basis. The colonel adds that he will personally recommend that the deputy commander does not permit anyone to remain bearded, adding that anyone wishing to appear before the deputy commander for such a hearing must appear clean shaven.
Some of the parents that spoke with Arutz-7 are quoted as drawing a comparison to the government removing the peyos of the Yemenite Jews in 1948 upon their arrival in the country. They point out how they want the chareidim in the military yet they make religious life difficult on the dati leumi soldiers already serving.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirms the regulations, that a frum soldier may indeed have a beard, as well as someone with a special medical dispensation. The response adds that a soldier may not cut or modify the length of the beard.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)