The intensity of the long-waging battle between the IDF’s Education Branch and the Chief Rabbinate will most likely not diminish in the near future, but it appears in at least one area, the secular-leaning Education Branch has scored a victory, as the military has cut the Rabbinate’s budget in a number of areas.
The fund providing education days to religious sites continue for the Education Branch, but the same cannot be said for the military rabbinate. For example, soldiers may be taken by the Education Branch to Chevron, where they visit the Ma’arat HaMachpelah, but an escort and explanation from non-frum soldiers is a far cry from the same education days provided to soldiers by the military rabbinate in Chevron. The funds for the Rabbinate’s operations of such day trips have been cut however.
In all likelihood, the incoming IDF chief rabbi will have his work cut out for him, as current IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Avichai Ronsky is winding down his term.
According to the weekly Mishpacha Magazine (Hebrew), leading candidates vying for the slot are Modi’in Hesder Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Shenwald, a colonel in the reserves, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, a former rosh yeshiva in Gush Katif and today, Rosh Yeshiva of the IDF Mechina in Atzmona, a former IAF pilot, Rabbi Shlomo Peretz, a colonel in the reserves, and Rabbi Eyal Krim, head of the Halacha Department in the IDF.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi makes the selection alone based on his own considerations. The Chief Rabbis are usually consulted, but the IDF chief makes the decision alone.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)