Smotrich: IDF top brass undermining army’s Jewish identity

January 11, 2016  

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) expressed outrage at the IDF Chief of Staff’s plan to remove the Jewish Identity programs from under the command of the IDF Rabbinate and to put it under the command of the Human resources department of the IDF.  

Smotrich said “the move is intended to harm the IDF Rabbinate and to methodically increase the undermining of its power and influence in the IDF.”  

The MK emphasized that there has been a growing conflict between the IDF education corps and the and the IDF Rabbinate as to under whose command the Jewish Identity program belonged. “The questionable compromise suggested by the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff to move the program to the command of Human Resources proves that there is only one motivating factor – to hamper and degrade the power of the IDF Rabbinate, without a justifiable reason. If the Educational corps is not set to receive it, than why remove it from the Rabbinate in the first place?”

“Whoever wants to harm the IDF Rabbinate will not succeed in a coalition in which we (Jewish Home) are a part of,” Smotrich threatened.  

Going one step further, Smotrich expressed fear with regards to how the IDF Rabbinate is being treated. “Today they want to take away one section of the Rabbinate’s command. Tomorrow they will bring to the table a discussion regarding whether or not to maintain the IDF Rabbinate as a whole. Those who wish to see a weaker Rabbinate will be rejoicing at this. We are talking about a serious blow to the Rabbinate. It is hard to imagine that this will pass in the current and very delicate coalition that we have. For us in the Jewish Home party, this is a zero-sum-game.”

Smotrich believes that Head of the Party Naftali Bennett has expressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu in recent days that the Jewish Home Party cannot accept this diminishing of the IDF Rabbinate to pass on the party’s watch.

“This is not a religious question, but the issue touches on one of the main tenets of the party, that is Jewish Identity for the country of Israel and for the IDF,” Smotrich added.

Smotrich also said that the MKs from the haredi parties as well as the Likud have been working over the past few days to get this decision, “which could have wide ranging ramifications for the IDF”, revoked.     

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