Will an IDF soldier then be attacked in a synagogue?

Violence against haredi soldiers leads President to meet with Netzach Yehuda fighters, 'A winning battalion in battle against terror.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Rivlin with Netzach Yehuda fighters
Rivlin with Netzach Yehuda fighters
Mark Neiman, GPO

In the wake of recent violence against haredi soldiers, President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin visited the Binyamin Brigade, where he spoke with the Netzach Yehuda battalion, or the Nahal Haredi.

The president received a comprehensive situation briefing in area battalion activity. The visit was accompanied by the head of Planning and Personnel Administration, Brig. Gen. Eran Shani, the Kfir Brigade Commander, Colonel Tzion Ratzon, the battalion commander of Netzach Yehuda Brig. Gen. Itamar Deshel, and the director of the Netzah Yehuda association, Aharon Malach.

The president received a comprehensive survey from the battalion commander about the battalion's structure and operational objectives, as well as the battalion's composition.

Afterwards, the president met with the unit's soldiers who told him about the unique social challenges they have encountered since their enlistment in the IDF. Some 3,000 haredim enlisted in the IDF this year, and recently a haredi company joined the Paratroopers Brigade. Another such company is active in Givati.

The Netzach (acronym for Haredi Military Youth - Noar Tzva'i Haredi) battalion was established under the title "Nahal Haredi" by the IDF in cooperation with the Rabbis Association and the Defense Ministry. The battalion was established in order to enable haredim to perform combat service while continuing to maintain their way of life. The present battalion started as a platoon in the Nahal Brigade's battalion.

In 2002 the battalion became independent until the establishment of the Kfir Brigade. Until 2008, the battalion performed operations as part of the Jordan Valley Brigade and at the end of that year the battalion moved to Judea and Samaria to assist the Menashe Brigade.

The President thanked the soldiers and commanders for the visit and expressed his high impression of this unique battalion's operational level, which over the years has grown to be the spearhead in the war on terror in Judea and Samaria.

"I was told that one of the fighters said when he was discharged that in yeshiva he learned how to be a Jew and in the battalion he learned how to be a human being," the president told the soldiers, "I think that it is possible to learn both in the army and in the yeshiva. Our values ​​are not contradictory, they are complementary values."

"I have been following the Netzach Yehuda battalion for many years, sometimes from afar and sometimes from close up. I know that some of you have problematic life stories, and difficulty with the family and the immediate environment, and despite everything, you enlisted and you are determined to defend the country," said the President.

Rivlin emphasized to the fighters, "You are the best of our children, you defend us on the front, and we have to protect you in the rear, and you, the soldiers of Netzach Yehuda, are awake at night in ambushes and checkpoints, fighting against terrorists and enemies. It isn't possible that in the State of Israel an IDF soldier will go for Mincha in a synagogue and be attacked.

''It will not happen. We mustn't generalize, and while it is clear to me that the haredi public condemns this violence," Rivlin stressed, "We are not going to allow harming you and other soldiers to pass quietly," he said.

The president said that integrating haredi soldiers into the IDF is an important and challenging goal for Israeli society, to be achieved through dialogue and cooperation: "We must find the way, even if it is difficult, how to preserve that dearest to each sector with understanding and not coercion.

"I consulted Rabbi Elyashiv during the enactment of the First Tal Law and his approach was an approach that sought to reach agreement and resolve the issue by peaceful means. He repeated: Consent, consent, consent. Only by agreement will we succeed in integrating various sectors within the IDF.

At the end of his speech, the President addressed the commanders and soldiers, "You must not forget that you are a winning battalion, a battalion that is at the forefront of the struggle against terrorism, and the security of the citizens of Israel is in your hands. The Nation of Israel and I salute you. Thank you."

Aharon Malach, Executive Director of the Netzach Yehuda association that accompanies haredi soldiers during their service, said after the visit: "We thank the President for his visit to the battalion. We greatly appreciate his warm attitude toward the haredi soldiers and his encouragement - which take on added importance in light of the attacks against soldiers by extremists on the margins of the haredi community.

"The president's message of integration through dialogue and his clear and consistent position on the issue are also important. As one who has been accompanying the haredi soldiers for more than 15 years, we know how crucial this is, and that only cooperation with an understanding of the mosaic of the tribes that comprise Israeli society can lead to optimal integration of the haredi community in the IDF."