By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News—
The IDF represents Israel’s multicultural nature but underneath the wrinkled green uniform is a special army preparing for the very special war that precedes the Messianic era. Three rabbis weigh in on how this prophetic mandate affects every aspect of the IDF and Israel’s wars.
Rabbi Rafi Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the IDF, believes the Jewish identity of the IDF makes its operational parameters different from those guiding other armies.
“In almost every way, the IDF is like every other army in the world,” Rabbi Peretz told Breaking Israel News. “Of course, we have a framework for educating our soldiers in military values, striving to make the IDF a moral army. We also emphasize the love of our nation and our land. Other armies do this as well but for the IDF, this takes on a unique form since this is our homeland from the time of the patriarchs.”
Rabbi Peretz noted that this special status is clear to every soldier in the IDF, including non-Jewish soldiers. He noted that in the 2012 war in Gaza (Operation Pillar of Defense), many soldiers, religious as well as non-religious, requested IDF tzitzit (four-cornered fringed garment) to wear into battle. The IDF version is an olive drab nylon mesh with small pockets in the corners for the fringes. Many felt that wearing this garment added a level of protection in addition to their bulletproof vests.
“Of course, the IDF does everything it can to permit religious soldiers to be observant. The food is kosher, we observe the Sabbath and holidays. But in addition to the religious observance, the IDF is clear about its unique status as the army of Israel. These are not simply Torah concepts that only speak to religious soldiers.” Continue Reading….