MK Navah Boker (Likud) penned a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot imploring him to allow a popular Torah class at a central IDF base to continue.
In October, General Aharon Haliva, who commands the IDF's Technological and Logistics Directorate, ordered that a weekly Torah class given to IDF soldiers be scrapped without specifying the reason.
The Torah class is called 'Sunday Happiness,' a play on the common phrase 'Sunday Sadness' which IDF soldiers use to describe their despondency upon having to report to base on Sundays. The class was given at Ir HaBahadim (lit. the city of training bases) near Yerucham, at which a large number of IDF soldiers are required to report every Sunday, and it enabled soldiers to utilize the extended downtime they have waiting for buses to learn Torah.
According to Boker, the class "strengthened soldiers and motivated them to continue serving and called on the soldiers to fulfill their duties with joy, a sense of mission and responsibility towards the people and the State of Israel".
"I see this as very important and it contributes to our soldiers morale," Boker continued, adding that she "does not see how this Torah class could possibly have any negative effects".
"In light of the soldiers' wishes, I ask you to reconsider the decision of Major General Aharon Haliva," Boker concluded.
General Aharon Haliva has been documented in the past expressing anti-religious sentiments. In 2010, several Knesset members called for his dismissal after he said that he despises soldiers in the Hesder track, which combines military service with yeshiva study, telling soldiers that “I hate and cannot stand this track."
Haliva also admitted that he refrained from sending soldiers from the Hesder track to officers school. "I would rather take someone not as good to become an officer, but who will stay on for three or four different positions than a soldier from the Hesder track who will leave after one job. It just doesn’t pay” he said, despite the fact that hesder soldiers and officers are among the most highly appreciated fighters in the IDF.
The IDF did not take his advice and hesder recruits have a disproportionately high number of IDF officers and, tragically, fallen soldiers, in their ranks.