Israel's 'Scary' Religious Army

Salon has an article about Israel's "activist" military rabbis. All of the stories that really inspired me from Gaza incursion, of rabbis inspiring the troops with tefilot and divrei Torah before going in I guess don't play as well to the rabid liberal Left.

Apparently they don't appreciate Chief Rabbi Rontzki's habit of expressing his views:

Rontzki has been accused of speaking out against military service for women -- he denies it -- and after Bamahane, the army magazine, profiled a homosexual major, Rontzki wrote to several senior officers to protest.

But what really gets the goat of Yesh Gvul, the defender of Israeli human rights (who knew we had our own group?) is this:

"Under Rontzki's command, the rabbinate is giving the conflict a religious overtone, and they are also using their free access to soldiers to work toward political goals," said Michael Sfard, an attorney for Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group. Those goals, critics like Sfard say, include making sure the West Bank, claimed by the Palestinians as part of their future state, remains in Jewish hands for good.

What I think is most interesting about this article is the sincere attempt on the part of the author to try and convey valid reasons for why the rabbinate might be more activist (there are more religious soliders in the army now) but how it utterly fails to convey how most traditional Sfardi soldiers probably appreciate the strengthened rabbinate. Yes, I'm sure it might make some secular soldiers uncomfortable. But I would imagine that on the night of the incursion, they were probably in the very small minority (don't have any proof for that, which is why I imagine it).


Post a Comment