An increase in the number of haredi soldiers at the Nevatim Air Force base in southern Israel has prompted a new addition to the base's arsenal: a brand new Torah scroll.
The new Torah was brought in to the base last weekend, for the benefit of the religious soldiers. Jewish men are required to read from the Torah on Monday and Thursday mornings, as well as on Shabbat (Sabbath).
Today 60 haredi soldiers serve in Nevatim as part of a contingent of the Netzah Yehuda battalion (also known as Nahal Chareidi), who are tasked with protecting strategically valuable assets of the State of Israel located at the base.
The Sefer Torah was donated by the Jewish businessman Victor Abayev, one of the senior leaders of the Caucasian Jewish community in the United States, in memory of IDF soldier Almog Shiloni, who served in Netzah Yehuda and was murdered by an Arab terrorist in a stabbing attack at Tel Aviv train station in November last year.
Shiloni's parents were among those who participated in the celebrations, as did the base's commander, Brigadier Lihu Ha-Cohen, who spoke at the event as well.
The "Nevatim" base is one of the largest Air Force bases in Israel and has the greatest number of squadrons in the force.
Among other things, the base also houses some of the army's most advanced intelligence-gathering systems.