While the controversial Enlistment Law from March may have had a negative effect on hareidi draft rates, the Nahal Hareidi brigade continues to shine. For the first time, soldiers of the fifteen-year-old Brigade were given the President's Award for 2014.
Notice of the award was given to reserve members of the Brigade in recent days, and the prize will be conferred at the President's Residence on June 15. Nahal Hareidi is the youngest combat brigade to win the prestigious prize this year.
In its fifteen-year history Nahal Hareidi has already become a highly decorated unit, winning the Chief of Staff's Prize last December, shortly after two other awards for excellence, as well as nominations for several others.
The President's Award was determined on the recommendation of brigade commanders on a committee headed by the IDF deputy chief of staff, which chose the Nahal Hareidi reserve units for the prize together with 14 other units.
The hareidi reserve unit is one of three infantry units winning the prize this year, after undergoing a thorough review that impressed members of the committee with the cohesion and determination of the unit's hareidi soldiers, who serve the nation while preserving their religious lifestyle.
The Nahal Hareidi Foundation, which has helped establish and maintain the unit, stated "the prize is a mark of recognition and esteem by the IDF on the quality, seriousness and excellence of the Brigade, along with the quality of the manpower characterizing the brigade."
"Even veteran brigades rich in experience don't win this prize easily, and therefore the Brigade's winning, at the first time that it was considered for the prize, is an honor to the unit," added the Foundation.
The statement concluded by saying that "in days when there is talk about enlisting yeshiva students by force, the Nahal Hareidi brigade proves that its spirit strives to reach the maximum, both in terms of the demands of religion and the operational capability of the unit, and the comradeship of the fighters. This spirit continues to beat in the hearts of the hareidi soldiers even years after being released from mandatory service."