While hareidi groups demonstrated in Jerusalem Sunday against the law that would require yeshiva students to serve in the army, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited with troops of the Nachal Hareidi, the unit designed to allow hareidi and religious soldiers to serve in the IDF while maintaining their lifestyle. Speaking to Nachal Hareidi soldiers serving in Judea and Samaria, Gantz said that soldiers who wished to live a full religious life in the army had every opportunity to do so.
Gantz praised the soldiers for their high-quality service. “I value your service and expect that each and every one of the soldiers here will bring another minyan (prayer quorum of ten Jews) to serve in the IDF. We need a strong army to deal with the challenges that face Israel, and for a strong society in which all share the burden, contributing an equal share,” Gantz said.
The Nachal Hareidi organization, which coordinates activities for the Nachal Hareidi units, said that many members of the units had expressed a desire to participate in Sunday's rally, but did not do so because of army regulations against political activity during service.
Rabbi Yitzchak Bar Avraham, a director of the Nachal Hareidi program, said that the recent incitement against hareidi yeshiva students was as unnecessary as it was painful. “We have succeeded in establishing these units using dialog, which makes the threats of incarceration certain politicians are using to force students to enlist even more painful.”