Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chareidim in the Israel Navy

After Nachal Chareidi, and chareidim in the air force, it now appears chareidim will also be counted among the ranks of the Israel Navy.
A first group of 30 chareidi inductees is expected to enter into the navy in March 2009, joining the force’s technical team, to serve in a Haifa naval base. The group will of course be placed in a situation that accommodates their lifestyle, including all male instructors, only male groups, glatt kosher meals, and a timetable permitting minyan three times daily.
Naval officials acknowledge that they are having difficulty meeting manpower demands, and they have also opened a track for hesder soldiers to serve in the navy in the hope of attracting combatants affiliated with the Dati Leumi camp. Officials stated if the March group proves successful, the navy will open its doors to additional chareidi units.
The air force about a year ago began accepting chareidim to a pilot program, assigning them to a technical unit. Reports have been positive, with officers reporting motivation is high among the group and it appears the program is successful, as has been the case with the Nachal Chareidi/Netzach Yehuda. 150 chareidim are serving in the air force and an additional 50 are about to enter.
The air force will then have to make a number of changes to accommodate the 200 chareidim, as well as weighing the future of the program and the logistics involved in bringing in a larger number of ‘special needs’ soldiers.
There are now reports that IDF Intelligence Corps officials are entertaining a pilot program of chareidim as well.
Not all the response has been overwhelming. One senior unnamed chareidi chinuch personality quoted in the Yisrael HaYom daily newspaper states he is most concerned over the navy program, since the navy is known for its lack of modesty and other religious values, including Shabbos desecration and problems with kashrus.

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