Cleaning IDF kitchen for kosher purposes
Cleaning IDF kitchen for kosher purposesIDF spokesman

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the rosh yeshivah (dean) of the Elon Moreh yeshivah and the rabbi of Samaria, has written another letter to his students currently serving in the IDF warning them that if the new initiative regarding dairy cooking in the IDF is implemented, they will no longer be able to eat from the IDF kitchens.

Last week, it was reported that the new initiative would be implemented in officers' lounges starting on July 3, 2022, as promoted by the IDF's chief of technology and logistics, along with Rabbi Eyal Karim, the IDF Chief Rabbi. For the present time, dairy food will not be introduced into regular IDF kitchens, but the regulation order clearly states that a special rabbinical unit "whose job it is to supervise kashrut will begin the process of enabling dairy cooking in officers' lounges as well as in dairy kitchens."

In his letter to his students, Rabbi Levanon wrote: "It has recently been publicized that the IDF intends to introduce dairy cooking - at first into officers' lounges and later also into regular IDF kitchens. Despite the fact that this is being portrayed as something that will benefit soldiers, 'the way to Hell is paved with good intentions.'"

According to Rabbi Levanon, "The IDF Rabbinate is making huge efforts to preserve the kosher status of army kitchens. However, the IDF Rabbinate today is already stretched to its maximum, and any additional burden will cause the system of kosher supervision in the army to collapse."

The rosh yeshivah stressed that once dairy foods are introduced into IDF kitchens, his students will no longer be permitted to eat anything cooked in those kitchens. "According to our knowledge and familiarity with what goes on in IDF kitchens, the introduction of dairy cooking will deal a fatal blow to their kosher status," he wrote. "In light of this, I am addressing all our students, graduates, soldiers on active and reserve service, as well as all those who value the mitzvah of kashrut [the commandment of keeping kosher], and stressing that if dairy foods are introduced into IDF kitchens, they must refrain from eating cooked food while in the army.

"Instead, one may eat raw foods, as well as food that comes pre-packaged in sealed packages from catering companies with a kosher stamp on them," he added.

"In our times, the IDF is actively seeking to create internal schisms among those who love the IDF and the State of Israel," Rabbi Levanon continued. "We must now take action, all of us together, to protect the honor of the Torah and its laws, so that the IDF may become a unifying force for all our People."