Yonatan Yosef Explains his Father’s Words Regarding IDF Sifrei Torah


After speaking with the media and addressing kashrus in the military during a shiur, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef stated that most sifrei Torah in the IDF are pasul and kashrus in the military is poor.

Yaakov Yosef, a son of Rav Yaakov spoke with Kol Chai Radio on Tuesday night. He explained that his father mentions these things in the hope someone will act, not for the sake of giving the IDF a bad image.

He adds that the media simply is not telling the truth and anyone who knows what takes place in the IDF knows there is a majority of inductees who are frum, dati leumi, chareidi and others who care about kashrus and Shabbos, and reports giving the impression that religious people don’t serve are baseless.

“Many of the Torahs in the military in the IDF need repairs, but they are used nonetheless. The soldiers by and large don’t know enough Halacha so the army gets away with it. Many of the military rabbonim don’t know Halacha either” stated Yonatan Yosef, so these is the result.

Kol Chai asked how he can make such a statement regarding the military rabbonim, to which he responded “I know from the inside and from my father’s talmidim, some serving as military rabbonim. They tell him how so many members of the IDF Chief Rabbinate simply do not know enough Halacha and they themselves don’t know what to do. My father tells talmidim who attend his shiurim what to do, such as seeking a kosher Sefer Torah for Parshas Zachor, and which military rabbonim are trustworthy and those who are not.

Kol Chai called on the IDF Chief Rabbinate to provide a member of its team to respond to the allegations, to ‘tell the other side’ but the request was declined.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office responded with an explanation that Sifrei Torah are inspected periodically, and they even use laser inspections. Kol Chai adds that it made a genuine effort to speak with sofrim to learn of this method, but none of the professionals they spoke with knew what laser inspections for STaM was about.

Yonatan added there is also the matter of the unacceptable identification markings on Sifrei Torah, but the IDF spokesman explain “no ink is used and the method used is viewed as acceptable by most poskim”.

Yonatan concludes that when the former IDF chief rabbi assumed his post, Rav Avichai Ronsky spoke of the abhorrent kashrus realities in military kitchens, explaining 80% were treif.

“We want the army to fix it, that is why we speak and the army must exhibit a bit more respect for our Heritage and empathy for the lives and needs of religious Jews” concluded Yonatan Yosef.

The tzibur is requested to continue davening for Rav Yaakov Chai ben Margalit b’soch kol cholei am yisrael.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. If one will slaughter a “chazir” with a chalef and then soak a salt the “chazir” it’s still “chazir treif” the IDF is “chazir treif” even if they will have 100% kosher kitchens and sifrei torah etc.

  2. Even though there may be some flaws, its better that the army has any sifrei torah including some that may technically be pasul and kitchens that serve food that largely kosher although the hashgacha may need some fine tuning.

    P.S. The Rav should have a refuah shelaymah

  3. Regarding #1’s comment: Why is the IDF “chazir treif” even if it would have 100% kosher kitchens and sifrei Torah? Perhaps you’d rather get rid of the IDF? I hope you don’t live in Eretz Yisroel, or you’d be slaughtered by Arabs, Iran, etc. No one is forcing you to join the IDF, but don’t trash them. They are defending the only Jewish State and millions of Yidden, at the risk of their lives. If you lived in Eretz Yisroel, they’d be defending you, too. Show some respect.