Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


God’s Army?

Is the IDF getting too Jewish?

Print Email
(Michael Gottschalk/AFP/Getty Images)

Day-to-day operations in the Israel Defense Force often expose soldiers to a host of ideological conflicts: between settlers and Palestinians, right- and left-wing perspectives on a two-state solution, and of course, as has been in the news a lot lately, between secular and religious Jews. The IDF itself mandates a “code of ethics and ideological agnosticism,” soldiers told the Christian Science Monitor. However, reports the paper, recently there have been signs of encroaching religious ideas; chief military rabbi Avichai Rontzki and his representatives have been spotted trolling military bases for soldiers interested in chatting about how “the ‘holiness of the people of Israel’ would keep them safe,” passing out pamphlets offering biblical justification for merciless treatment of Palestinians, and insisting on monthly Torah discussions. And while when it comes to war, says one expert, “meaning must be given” for the destruction and force necessary, what Rontzki has been implementing “is way beyond the limits.” Between the fact that, as the CSM reports, “nationalist religious conscripts have replaced soldiers from secular farming kibbutzim, and have risen to be mid-level officers,” and the recent call from Religious Zionist rabbi Shlomo Aviner to exclude non-Jews from service (as per Maimonides, he claims), the army may have to watch out before it loses its tenuous commitment to neutrality.

In Israeli Army, Rabbis Deepen Religious Tone. Is that Kosher? [CSM]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

God’s Army?

Is the IDF getting too Jewish?

More on Tablet:

Making Sex Education Smarter

By Marjorie Ingall — Teenagers need to learn about more than anatomy, as some Jewish educators already know