As Gedolei Torah Shlita and Admorim Shlita meet in an effort formulate a united policy concerning how the chareidi tzibur addresses the IDF draft, another case against a chareidi soldier is in the news. This time, a Chabad soldier is facing charges for refusing to remove his beard. When asked to comment, the IDF Spokesman’s Office stated “The commander involved are reviewing the situation”.
It is becoming increasingly clear to many that the ‘sharing the burden’ effort is nothing more than a sham, an effort to compel bnei Torah to serve in the IDF in the hope of distancing them from their chareidi lifestyle.
In this latest case, the soldier is serving as a student in the air force in the Tel Nof Base. The soldier explains that his commander, of the rank of lt.-colonel, decided that all of his subordinates must be clean shaven. The soldier, Yitzchak explained that he does not shave for religious reasons. His commander was unimpressed and explained that failure to comply would result in charges of insubordination against him.
His parents explained that while some chareidim are okay with shaving, it is known that Chabad is stringent regarding shaving or trimming one’s beard.
The lt.-colonel is not interested in the young soldier’s religious beliefs and filed charges against him. Yitzchak phone the IDF Chief Rabbinate hotline to report what was happening to him. He was told that an officer of the rank of lt.-colonel or higher has the right to order him to shave but he is not compelled to comply, for the law permits him to maintain his beard in line with his chareidi lifestyle.
The IDF Spokesman adds “The right to have a beard in line with one’s religious beliefs is contingent on one’s commander. When one transfers from one unit to another one has to often request permission anew.
Yitzchak is expected to present his case before officers in the coming days.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)