'Harassment of haredi soldiers is like idolatry'

Defense Minister lauds haredi soldiers, says those seeking to shame or harass them acting against Jewish values.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Liberman at Hanukkah light
Liberman at Hanukkah light
Nahal Haredi

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) hosted haredi soldiers and soldiers from the Nahal Haredi battalion at a Hanukkah candle-lighting event in Tel Aviv last Thursday, at which Rabbi Tzvi Klebanow, president of the Nahal Haredi Foundation, lit the menorah.

The Defense Minister attacked the phenomenon of shaming and harassing of haredi IDF soldiers, comparing the phenomenon to 'idolatry.' He added that he hoped to see the day when a haredi soldier became the IDF Chief of Staff.

He said that there was no contradiction between military service and Torah study. "King David did not fight? Joshua was not a warrior? I think that they understood the Torah and Judaism at least as Rabbi Deri and Rabbi Litzman."

"So I believe that you are going the most direct route, incorporating Judaism, but also defending the homeland, and also protecting the Jewish people." he told the soldiers gathered at the ceremony.

"I came here to express my gratitude and appreciation that with your circumstances [you still] made that choice. To make that decision [to become a soldier] - it's not an easy decision."

Liberman slammed those who act to harass or shame haredi soldiers. '' Anyone who tries to denounce [soldiers] in the name of Torah, who tries to shame soldiers - is simply engaged in idolatry. It is not Judaism. It is definitely not compatible with Jewish values."

He expressed hope that more haredim would choose to serve in the IDF in the near future. ''We spoke about 5,000 haredi soldiers in the IDF today? I hope that next year we'll speak about 10,000 soldiers."