Some 100 dati leumi and chareidi soldiers are serving in an IDF Air Force Tel Nof Base maintenance squadron and their requests to maintain a beard have been denied. Not only has their commander denied their requests, he is not permitting them to file a request with the adjutancy, leaving them with two alternatives; to shave and comply with his order or refuse the order and face the consequences of being insubordinate.
These are not soldiers in the air force’s chareidi ‘Shachar’ program, and it appears that today, soldiers who are not serving in a unit viewed by the military as ‘chareidi’ are compelled to shave, or at least many of them. The soldiers in Tel Nof were told if they do not shave by March 1st, Wednesday, they are likely to face charges for ignoring a direct order. Unfortunately, many of them were told that IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz is clean shaven, hence they have no excuse.
At present, most of the group is of the opinion that they prefer going to jail rather than shave.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)