Maj.--Gen Yair Naveh
Maj.--Gen Yair Naveh(file)

The top IDF recruits should join regular brigades and not commando units, Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Naveh said at a ceremony this week at the Meir Harel yeshiva in Modiin.

“The important thing is to become an officer as quickly as possible! That is the challenge, that is the most important contribution,” Major-General Naveh told the young student-soldiers in the audience.

Naveh also spoke of the importance of the IDF as a way to bring different segments of society together. “When you are carrying a stretcher along with three other people, each from a different world, you won't carry any less because your father has more money,” he said. Religious soldiers need not fear that they will have to compromise their values during service, he added, saying, “Today an IDF soldier can observe all the mitzvot with no problem.”

The ceremony at Meir Harel was held in honor of a group of students who will soon be beginning their IDF service. The students are part of the  yeshiva's unique “Shesder” program – a program that, like the traditional Hesder program, combines Torah learning and army service, but requires even more of its students than the normal five-year Hesder does. Shesder enlistees serve for a total of six years, four of which they spend learning Torah and two of which are spent in active service.

Rabbi Eliezer Chaim Shenvald, head of the yeshiva, told his students that they should learn from Naveh, a one-time yeshiva student who has reached the highest rank in the IDF. Naveh studied in the Netiv Meir yeshiva in Jerusalem in high school.

The students themselves spoke as well, about the tractates of Talmud (masechtot) they had learned over the course of the past year. “You didn't believe that you could finish the entire book of Ketubot within one year, and in the end you finished early,” said their proud teacher, Rabbi Shachar Kihan.