Two IDF Soldiers Refused Orders to Drink Water on Yom Kippur


idfGivati Brigade soldiers in the Shomron were instructed to drink water on Yom Kippur to maintain a ‘ready’ status in the event they are activated to respond to an incident in the area as they were an on-call unit. Two of the soldiers refused to comply to drink water and their platoon commander, a lieutenant, ordered them to remain on base for 30 consecutive days. A family member of one of the soldiers calls the situation “absurd” Walla News reports.

The platoon commander instructed his men to drink water, aware they may be called to respond to an emergency and he wanted his soldiers to be ready for whatever might transpire. The two religious soldiers refused and maintained their fast. They asked the young officer to please consider their situation, explaining they are not taking part in any military action so they are fasting but if called to action, they would drink in compliance with instructions.

They were found guilty of refusing orders and sentenced to 30 consecutive days on base. Family members are quoted by Walla News explaining it is absurd that religious soldiers serving in the IDF in the State of Israel are punished for fasting on Yom Kippur.

It is added the unit was not activated during Yom Kippur as the day passed quietly in that area. The soldiers in question are veterans and have almost completed their military service, about to begin their vacation prior to discharge.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office explains the soldiers were part of an on-call unit, and therefore they were compelled to maintain a combat-ready status. They were asked to drink a minimum amount of water on Yom Kippur towards this end. They are punished for not obeying a direct order from a superior officer.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. “superior officer”! And this bum “superior officer” didn’t even bother with what the Superior H-m ordered this soldier? Perhaps we should ask H-m what he says! Who cares what this “superior cockroach” orders in face of h-m’s command! Was the idf rabanut or his rabbi even approached for a psak or was this just I don’t give a hoot to what your religious beliefs are, I will show you who’s bigger! Rabosai I don’t say this was the issue but being in Israel This IS the chiloni mentality!

  2. Hmmmm, this is an interesting case. Here’s something that may be comparable: a Hatzalah dispatcher refuses to check if his/her radio is working properly, because “a call hasn’t come in yet – I’ll check it when the call comes”. Sometimes you need to be ready in advance.

    I’m not a Rav, so I don’t know the halachah, but I wonder if the soldiers decided this on their own, or if they asked a Rav?

  3. It has long been a common practice of secular officers to claim that there was a military emergency and that one needs to violate halacha. Note that i n this case the soldiers could have broken the fast if, and when, they were ordered into action. There do not appear to have been courts-martial of officers for falsely claiming a military emergency for the purpose of tricking Jewish sooldiers into violating halacha.

    If there is ever a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael, one assumes that hilonim will not be allowed to serve as officers in the military.

  4. Hey Joe,
    Did you ever wear a uniform on a hot day? Did you ever learn the physiology of dehydration or heat stroke? Do you have any idea how difficult is to be combat ready when you have not had water intake for several hours and do not feel dehydrated?
    Do you know how difficult it is to be a combat officer and be responsible not only for defending or carrying out offensive maneuvers and at the same time worring about accidental deaths due to things like heatstroke?
    If you don’t then please return to your dalet Amos and deal with things you were apparantly trained to do like like worry about whose hashgacha the potato chips were produced under

  5. #1- Here’s how:

    A. The case got reported because of its extreme rarity.

    B. Nu, so the soldiers stopped being religious? They did what they thought was right and may miss a Shabbat at home.

    C. These calls are made by the unit’s rabbi. If the soldiers were following the rabbi’s orders the punishment will be cancelled and the officer reprimanded. If the officer was correct and the soldiers disregarded the instructions of the unit’s rabbi then they will stay on base for Shabbat. Big deal.

  6. Re: Not Getting Involved,
    I say that you can remain frum in the IDF. How do i respond?
    1- I remained frum in the IDF
    2- All of my friends remained frum in the IDF
    3- Two people in my company BECAME frum in the IDF
    4- For chilonim, who believe it or not ARE still Jews and not just cockroaches (as another person in this thread called them), the army is the BEST religious education they will get in their lives. The educational tours to the Old City, the mandatory attendance Shabbat meals, and the exposure to good, frum Jews they’re serving together with. I know. It’s not ideal that this is their only and best exposure to yiddishkeit, but it’s something. It’s a lot better than the Jewish education that the unaffiliated Jews of America get.

    So yes, these commanders in this story were stupid. And if they were my commanders i would have been very upset and disappointed at them. But this story hit the news BECAUSE it is not the norm. And to look at it and respond with your comment is uneducated, biased, and rash.