The High Court for Justice decided Thursday to temporarily block a new IDF order that forbids secular soldiers to grow beards, as the court reviews a motion filed against the order.
Attorney Lior Shteltzer, who filed the motion, argued Thursday that the High Court “determined 18 years ago that the right to grow a beard is art of the human dignity of any person, including soldiers.”
The new order does not forbid religious soldiers to grow beards, nor does it forbid soldiers to grow a beard for medical reasons. However, it does away with the right to grow a beard purely on the basis of "free will."
The Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel (Likud), asked Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon Thursday to rescind the order.
"The order forbidding IDF soldiers who are not religious and do not have medical approval to grow beards is a non-egalitarian and discriminatory order that hurts thousands of soldiers in the military,” she wrote Yaalon. “This hurtful decision should be reexamined and canceled immediately,” she urged.
"The IDF is a melting pot for Israeli society, in which everyone is equal and everyone has the same rights and duties," she added. "I call upon the Minister of Defense to give instructions to rescind the order and to go back to the previous regulation that enabled complete equality of rights among all IDF soldiers.”