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  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Basics of Jewish Faith

Serving with Non-religious Jews


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Sivan 2, 5781
The issue in my mind is that non religious Jews are basically not Jewish in terms of thought and morals. Isnt it more likely that non religious Jews will kill when they arent supposed to? And by fully supporting the army and serving, it enables that
You are clearly unaware that today, the majority of the officers in many battle units are in fact religious, most of them having studied in yeshivas. In addition, if there is even the slightest of questions, the Chief Rabbinate of the IDF is consulted, and they voice their opinion. In my 25 years of service in the IDF, I have never even once (!) seen or heard of any "over-zealous" order to kill when it's not 100% kosher, allowed and even obligated! To the contrary, halacha mandates many more cases of firing at the enemy, as opposed to current orders which unfortunately are relatively restrained and restraining, and "bend over backwards" so as not to anger the U.S. or the U.N. For example, in Gaza when the enemy consciously targets our civilians, placing themselves among their own civilians, knowing that Israel often will not shoot the terrorists in order not to kill the Arab children. This is halachically wrong, for if the enemy uses his own children and civilians as a "human-shield", that's his problem and not ours! The Torah is clear, that we shouldn't be "fall for that trick" and it's forbidden for our civilians to suffer, because of the Arabs' inhumanity to their own people. Nevertheless, the orders will often be given to restrain fire, which is against halacha. In short, you may have seen anti-Semitic propaganda, but I can testify to the fact that the IDF is unquestionably the most moral army in the world, and we are very proud of it, even if halachically, we should be less restrained.
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