The IDF does want hareidi men to enlist, and has managed to strike a balance between their needs and its own, says Lieutenant Colonel Amichai Segal, who commands the hareidi-religious Netzach Yehuda brigade, or Nachal Hareidi.
“The IDF is the people’s army and has run according to certain rules since it was created. After the idea came up of enlisting hareidi men who would continue to keep certain standards of modesty and kashrut, they created a sort of ‘island’ within the army that does allow those who want to enlist to do so,” Segal told Arutz Sheva.
“That is how it has been done for 13 years, and I think the right tools are there for whoever wants to enlist, and that the IDF knows how to find the right balance with those soldiers,” he added.
Segal said that if the brigade grows, he expects new hareidi units to be created. “The IDF is ready and wants hareidim in the army,” he stated.
On Thursday, Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai argued that the IDF does not want to enlist hareidi men, and that statements to the contrary have been lies. He accused the IDF of failing to open a second brigade designed for hareidi soldiers despite interest.
Segal said that he was initially not interested in leading a hareidi brigade. “I wanted a regular brigade, not one associated with one sector [of society],” he recalled. “But after I learned about the project and understood its importance, I was very happy that I’d come here.”
Segal spoke with Arutz Sheva as a festive event was held honoring the Nachal Hareidi, segments from which can be seen in the video below.