IDF and Religion

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy.

The modern State of Israel continues to struggle with its identity.

Is this a Jewish State or a state where some Jews happen to live?

I’ve seen two manifestations of this problem already this week.

Yesterday it was the Jewish State bill. One argument about that bill is whether to emphasize the Jewish nature of Israel or its democratic nature. (As an aside, I’m almost 100% certain that most Israelis have no clue what democracy means.)

Now there are reports in Arutz 7 that some Kenesset members are upset that soldiers in the IDF are “too” religious.

In an open discussion held by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee for Personnel in the IDF on Monday [November 24], the Knesset looked into the phenomenon that saw numerous IDF units visiting the Kotel (Western Wall) and other Jewish sites during the operation [Operation Protective Edge]. The Knesset session was surprisingly framed as a talk about “religious radicalization.”

I’ve been under the impression that all new recruits to the IDF hold ceremonies at the Kotel. And all of them are given a Tanach.

That’s already pretty radical.

One of the topics to be raised in the discussion was the message sent by Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ofer Winter to his troops at the start of the operation, in which he wrote the brigade was going out against “the terrorist Gazan enemy that curses, reviles and insults the G-d of the campaigns of Israel.”

The invocation of G-d made a stir in the media, and led Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) to criticize Winter, noting not all IDF soldiers are religious, or even Jewish.

I’ll point out to the Defense Minister that even though not all soldiers are religious, and not all of them are Jewish, our enemies in Gaza wanted them all dead, along with all the rest of the Jewish people.

Any soldier who felt left out by Col. Winter’s message should go find another country to live in.

In addition, Minister Ya’alon and the Kenesset should spend their time rethinking the idea of warning our enemies where the next attack is coming. That “humanitarian” tactic killed more IDF soldiers than any trips to the Kotel.

Picture credit:
Flickr – IDF Online