Dozens of soldiers from the Engineering Corps were forced Tuesday to visit a church during the course of an "educational seminar" the IDF organizes for soldiers.
The visit to the church was in direct opposition to the Chief of Staff's directives. Soldiers contacted Army Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim to try and prevent the visit to a Christian site but nothing has been done as yet regarding the matter.
The Chief of Staff's directive forbids entering a church except when there is an operational requirement. "A commander will not force a soldier to enter a church unless the matter is required for the sake of or in the course of operational duty," says the directive.
The educational seminar the soldiers are attending is called "Human Mosaic" and during the course of it they will visit Mitzpe Benayah, named in memory of Major Benayah Rein who fell in the Second Lebanon war. They will also visit Akko in the footsteps of Islam, meet a Druze Sheikh and visit a church in the North of the country.
The goal of the workshop, according to an official document of the Education Corps is to "strengthen the sense of belonging and commitment of the soldier to Israeli society, the State of Israel and the IDF. Soldiers will investigate their value systems and how they manifest themselves in daily life throught their walking tour in the North and exposure to different cultures."
"The Galilee and the Kinneret basin serve as a meeting place of different cultures, religions and communities which together forge and create Israeli society. During the course of the educational seminar, we will be exposed to the human mosaic of society and we will try to understand how it manifests itself in the IDF," stated the document.