Monday, November 17, 2008

IDF - Should teach Jewish values?

Haaretz reports:
The chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces is sticking to his position that the military rabbinate must be involved in inculcating soldiers and officers with "values and Jewish awareness," despite the opposition of the education corps.

"There is a crucial need to connect [the] soldiers with their roots and Jewish values," Rabbi Avihai Ronski wrote in a letter he sent earlier this month to officers in the military rabbinate, in response to criticism that arose in response to a Haaretz article describing the rabbis' activities. "Thank God we have the privilege of dealing with this. We should continue to act in the area of Jewish awareness."

Haaretz reported a month ago that the IDF rabbinate was getting involved in areas under the responsibility of the education corps and quoted senior officers as saying the IDF rabbis are dangerously close to preaching that troops become religious and introducing soldiers to their right-wing political views.

In his letter, Ronski said "it seems utterly plain" that IDF rabbis are supposed to be involved in inculcating Jewish values. He said he met with dozens of unit commanders before he took up his post and was told they saw the job of the IDF rabbinate as being "to teach us, who did not grow up in a religious home, what Judaism is." [...]

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