Chareidi Soldiers: IDF Breaking its Promise Regarding Religious Practice

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idffNew chareidi inductees in the IDF’s Shachar program report that pre-induction promises made to them regarding religious practice are not being kept. They were promised they would be permitted to leave the Tzrifin base to toivel for Shabbos in a mikve, in line with their regular religious practice. However, now that they are on the base in the midst of basic training, they were not permitted to leave as promised.

Last Shabbos morning commander told the soldiers the gate to the camp is electric so there was no way of accommodating them without Chilul Shabbos. The soldiers however explain the gate is sufficiently open every Shabbos, as soldiers on the base are aware. Soldiers who returned from tefilos off the base on Shabbos confirmed the gate was open the entire day. Some soldiers then went back to their commander and asked permission to go to mikve on Shabbos, citing they know for a fact the gate is open. His response was “no”.

It was then that many decided to defy orders and go for prior to entering the military they toiveled daily and now they are not even permitted to toivel for Shabbos. upon their return they were told they would be punished but basic training ended this week and fortunate for them, no punishment this time around.

When asked to comment, the IDF Spokesman stated “The soldiers are not permitted to leave for mikve”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


16 COMMENTS

  1. Is there a hiddush here?

    Why should their officers be any more friendly than the white officers were to their coloured “Buffalo soldiers” in the US, or the British officers to the “native” soldiers. Actually some of the aforementioned officers ended up as great advocates, and when that happens in Israel we’ll know there is progress.

  2. Where do they bring down that a man must be toivel daily or even every eruv Shabbos? They are in the army and must make some accommodations as should the army officers. That’s the only way the IDF will be able to get most of the chareidi yungerleit to serve in some capacity under the new draft law.

  3. Brought down in Poskim it is an inyan to be toivel Erev Shabbos (believe in Chaye Odom )
    Also for married soldiers Tevila is important before tefila and Limud Hatorah

  4. Gadolhadorah:
    Who gave the evil Zionists the right to abolish a religious custom? The answer is shmad. It’s not even that the Zionists don’t care about the religious practices of these soldiers. They do care, which is exactly the reason the Zionists do all they can to shmad them.

  5. i second the comments of #8 and would like to add that if t would not be for the outrage they would ban them from daveing too just they cant do that

  6. As far as the married soldiers go, it is not obligatory: its classified in the Gemara as a תקנה שאין רוב הציבור יכולה לעמוד בה.
    As far as Erev Shabbos, etc. Its a beautiful minhag Chassidus, but not at all obligatory.
    Sometimes you have to give up a Middas Chassidus for the sake of creating an environment conducive to building a good soldier.

  7. There is NO mitzvah for a man to toivel, EVER, with the exception of a convert who is becoming Jewish. Soldiers in the IDF should follow the IDF rabbis, all of whom are orthodox and are certainly more familiar with the halachot of serving in armies during time of conflict (which for Medinat Yisrael is at all times). Soldiers are even exempt from netilat yadayim, which under other circumstances actually IS a mitzvah!

  8. The dispute over the mikvah is a sympton. It shows a lack of good faith. If the officers were hareidi, he would understand the situation and they would have avoided the problem. As long as there is an “us vs. them” mentality, problems are guaranteed, as given the cultural orientation of the Israeli elite, nothing short of replacing the Israeli ruling class will resolve the issue. And until that happens, a hareidi in the IDF is in a similar position as were African American soldiers in the Jim Crow era American military, or “native” troops in the European imperial armies.

  9. 12: “Soldiers in the IDF should follow the IDF rabbis, all of whom are orthodox”

    LOL if you want to make sure that absolutely no chareidim serve in the IDF, be sure to use that as your mantra. No chareidi calls a DL IDF rabbi his posek. And, to the point, no IDF rabbi said that the base commander shouldn’t let soldiers through an open gate on shabbos to use the mikveh.

  10. charliehall: How woujld you like it if someone walked up to you and used force to make you change your minhagim. You may a very good posek and a strong tradition – but the government comes along and orders you to follow a different posek and a different tradition.

    And the first question a recruit’s family will try to ask (albeit indirectly) is “Are you still frum?” Did you uphold our family’s traditions, or have you gove over to the other side and become one of the hated enemy?

    As long as the ruling class in Israel is strongly anti-religious, even recruiting hareidi volunteers is risky. Attempt to conscript is suicidal. Even if they go into the army somewhat zionist, after clashing with secular officers they’ll leave ready to join Neturei Karta.

    I once heard a veteran of the IDF say that the army gives you only the option of becoming steel, or becoming mush. Of becoming Neturei Karta, or putting the kipah in the pocket at least for as long as you want to be a good soldier. That’s an exaggeration, but it demonstrate the dilema of conscripting hareidi, especially ones who aren’t loyal zionists to beging with.