Eizenkot Works to Weaken Military Rabbinate’s Authority

June 4, 2015  

In the wake of a controversial punishment laid down on an IDF soldier for bringing a ham sandwich to base, IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot intends to reduce the powers of the Military Rabbinate. 

According to a Haaretz report Thursday, Eizenkot aims to limit the Military Rabbinate’s involvement in educational activities, and will instruct the General Staff’s personnel department to reconsider the division of power between the Rabbinate and the Education Corps. 

Apparently these two bodies have engaged in a serious struggle over military education activities in the last decade. 

A senior source told Haaretz that Eizenkot’s decision is directly related to the controversy over reprimanding the soldier who brought non-kosher food to base, thereby violating IDF kashrut regulations. 

The soldier in question was handed 11 days in military prison, although his punishment was later commuted to confinement on base.

The senior source added that “the Military Rabbinate will focus on on the Rabbinate and the Education Corps will focus on education.” 

“[Israel’s first Prime Minister] David Ben-Gurion regulated that the IDF would maintain kashrut. In recent years, we’ve taken it one step too far and now it’s time to take a step backward.”

On Tuesday, the IDF apologized for the incident, with spokesperson Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz writing on Facebook, “the bottom line is that we were wrong.”

“In the IDF, we will continue to keep kosher on the one hand, but we will not nitpick with a soldier over a sandwich on the other. There are tensions in Israeli society and there are different positions and opinions. In the IDF there is room for everyone.”

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