The IDF Day of Shame



A few days ago, Israel and the IDF commemorated their Day of Shame. In 2013, the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day was characterized by a racist act of Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the IDF Commander, who refused to put an Israeli little flag on the grave of the last IDF soldier buried in Mount Hertzl Military Cemetery, in Jerusalem. The soldier was an Orthodox-Christian Russian.
Such events do not happen in a vacuum. If the Commander in Chief behaves in such a despicable way, it will diffuse downwards the military hierarchy. The attitude of General Gantz is not new, thus the diffusion event reported here looks suspiciously close to the event, but it is not. As the State of Israel, the IDF has a history of years of institutional discrimination.
On February 2013, the Military Rabbinate Corps published a little book containing “Piskei Halakha” (“Rulings of the Jewish Law,” parallel to Muslim Shari’a) about the use of “mezuzot” (plural) in military bases. “Mezuzah” is a parchment within a decorative case, containing the texts of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21, which is attached to Jewish homes. Its hateful rulings are disturbing, to put it mildly, to the extent that in late April, they are causing mayhem on Hebrew media.
Subjugated to the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, the Military Rabbinate Corps have a long history of inciting violence and promoting racism. Veteran readers of my website may remember the scandalous Military Rabbinate Plans Third Temple. Hanukkah is a non-Biblical holiday which commemorates the re-inauguration of the Second Temple. For the 2011 event, the Military Rabbinate gave a gift to IDF soldiers. It included a pamphlet in which the Muslim Rock of the Dome in Jerusalem, which is placed on the spot where the Second Temple was, had been removed.
In 2009, during Operation Cast Lead against Gaza, the rabbinate distributed a booklet warning against showing mercy to enemies. It compared modern-day Palestinians to Biblical Philistines while denying the historical existence of a Palestinian national identity. Don’t they pay attention to their own contradictions?
                                                                                 Brigadier General Rabbi Rafi Peretz, IDF’s Chief Rabbi
In 2013, the Rabbinate shoot its own home, attacking many IDF soldiers who are not Jewish. There are many Muslims, Druze, and Christians serving in the Israeli army. The book it published is entitled “Orderly Halakha in the IDF – Mezuzah Halakhot.” The name is a difficult to translate pun. “Halakha” can be translated as “Correct Way,” or “Orderly Path;” “Orderly Halakha in the IDF” is a redundant title which a humoristic sound to it. What is written inside is anything but funny.
The book contains a prelude by Brigadier General Rabbi Rafi Peretz, the current IDF’s Chief Rabbi and a former helicopter pilot, a clear indication he sanctions the text written by his subordinates. One of the booklet sections deals with buildings which house Jews and Gentiles together. Should a mezuzah be attached to them? The “Psak Halakha” (“Ruling of the Jewish Law) issued by the Military Rabbinate includes the following text: “The conception which claims that Gentiles are equal in rights is against the Torah’s interpretations. There is no Halakhic authority to a representative of the State preaching to act against the will of Torah.” In a typical Jewish fashion, the text ignores a main teaching of the Torah: “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” Leviticus 19:18.
The text is outrageous. Non-Jewish soldiers should enter the nearest Adjutant Corps office and return their ranks (idiom for quitting). Yet, there is a positive note in it. I am not alone, there are others, even senior IDF officers, recognizing that the Israeli Administration possesses no authority at all. God bless you, Brigadier General Rabbi Rafi Peretz.

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Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards. In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.