IAF Commander 'Refuses' to Fire IAF Rabbi

IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Nechushtan reportedly told Chief IDF Rabbi "I do not take orders from you."

Gil Ronen ,

IAF Chief Rabbi Ravad
IAF Chief Rabbi Ravad
Yoni Kempinski


IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nechushtan is reportedly refusing to fire Lt. Col. Rav Moshe Ravad from his position as the IAF 's Chief Rabbi, despite Rav Ravad's resignation from the Shachar Kachol program for hareidi-religious soldiers.

Rav Ravad resigned because he felt that the IDF was trying to force hareidim to serve alongside women, despite promising them it would respect their religious beliefs and allow them to serve in male-only environments.

Chief IDF Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rav Rafi Peretz, reportedly recommended that Nechushtan fire Rav Ravad, but according to one report, Maj. Gen Nechushtan told Rav Peretz that he does not take orders from him and that Rav Ravad serves in the IAF and not in the IDF Rabbinate. Nechushtan reportedly said that the rabbi would continue to serve as the IAF's rabbi, a job he is doing well.

The IAF Website published an article Wednesday that noted that about 600 hareidim had thus far served in the Shachar Kachol program since it began in 2007. They have been absorbed into the IAF in 20 technical professions. About 65% of the Shachar Kachol soldiers are married, and half are fathers. Ten officers who graduated from the project serve in the IAF, and 90% of those who completed service in the program found employment in the technical field.

The Shachar Kachol (acronym for Shiluv Hareidim BeTzahal - integrating hareidim in the IDF} program is intended for hareidi men who have learned in yeshiva for at least four years after age 18 and have decided to try to find employment of their own volition. The program is intended to train them through the IDF and then have them continue to serve in their field. They choose from 26 vocational programs, from computer programming and engineering to technical writing and  truck driving.

The program promised complete separation from women soldiers and no women commanders, has high standards of mehadrin [stringent] kashrut in the base kitchen. There is a Daf Yomi class each day and prayers with a minyan [quorum].