IDF orders religious officer to shave his beard

IDF refuses to allow religious career officer to continue growing beard, despite giving him exemption from shaving for years.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Religious soldier
Religious soldier
Flash 90

An administrative officer in the IDF has refused to allow a married, religious career officer to keep his beard.

For years, the religious officer received permission from the rabbi of his base to be exempt from having to shave, but recently he was told to ask for written permission from the command's administrative officer.

The officer submitted all of the relevant documents and was surprised when his request was rejected. Instead, he was ordered to immediately shave off his beard. The officer claimed that, when he entered the IDF at the age of 19, he was clean shaven. He only decided to grow a beard after marrying.

Religious soldiers are routinely given permission to grow their beards - even in cases where the soldier only began growing his beard in the military - so the grounds for rejection in this case are unclear.

A relative told Arutz Sheva, "I am sad and hurt by the IDF, which acts with contempt towards religious people and refuses to accommodate them. The IDF is harassing the national religious public. The IDF would not dare try it with Nahal Haredi [the haredi unit] because it is afraid of them and their haredi leaders."

The father of the officer, a resident of Mevo Horon, told the Kol Yisrael radio station yesterday that his family is deeply shocked by the army's actions towards their son. He said that there is a connection between removing the Jewish consciousness program from the military rabbinate and the recent decisions dealing with religious soldiers.

The father further stated that the fact that the IDF is attacking the military rabbinate's authority and transferring it to administrative officers is not surprising in light of the ruling for his son.

The officer himself says that he does not intend to shave his beard, and that the IDF must take responsibility for the issue.

The IDF spokesman has not yet commented.