MK (Yesh Atid) Elazar Stern is a retired IDF major-general and a former head of the IDF’s Personnel Branch. Speaking to Kol Chai Radio on Wednesday evening the eve of 23 Adar-I, Stern was asked to comment on the ongoing controversy surrounding a new order which has resulted in many religious soldiers being told to shave.
Stern begins by clarifying the new Manpower Branch regulation in no way poses a threat to religious soldiers who have beards as part of their hashkafa.
Stern explains there are dress codes which include regulating the length of one’s hair and the beard rule is part of regulations seeking to control the appearance of personnel. He points out that while some frum Jews do not have beards, the new regulation is not directed at religious soldiers of any hashkafa who are bearded for the military has never had a problem with bearded soldiers who declare a beard is a part of their religious belief.
He explains the problems arise when people take advantage and suddenly become religious to get out of shaving daily. He calls on personnel to be honest, explaining “If one wishes to be respected one must act respectful”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)