Leading Rabbis Call to ‘Save the IDF Rabbinate’

A conference of leading rabbis at Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in Jerusalem on Tuesday warned that the IDF Rabbinate is in danger of army budget cutbacks, and Arutz Sheva was on hand to hear just why the potential budget cut is so problematic.

Rabbi Mordechai Tzion of the yeshiva explained that when addressing the issue, first of all one must understand the purpose of the IDF Rabbinate, noting it doesn't exist just to ensure the standards of kashrut and a general Jewish lifestyle for soldiers.

It's main purpose, he said, is to "increase the fighting spirit" by explaining to the soldiers just what it is they're fighting for – the people and land of Israel.

There is a "thirst among the soldiers" to know what they're fighting for, which was seen particularly in last summer's Operation Protective Edge, said Rabbi Tzion.

In particular, he said that former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Rontzki emphasized that all IDF rabbis must be combat soldiers, and that rabbis have to go into the field and be personal examples, providing spiritual support.

Turning his attention to the threats to the IDF Rabbinate, Rabbi Tzion explained the talk of budget cuts partially stems from fears that the rabbinate will "take over," which isn't their goal or purpose at all.

Noting on the increasing demand for religious services in the IDF to illustrate the need for the rabbinate, he commented on how soldiers in recent operations in Gaza asked to be provided with tzitzit, a ritual garb with fringes as commanded in the Torah.

"The army is the state, there are a million people in the army," concluded Rabbi Tzion, emphasizing the importance of providing spiritual guidance for the IDF.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201254

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