Rivlin: Haredi soldiers are the 'finest among our sons'

President tells haredi soldiers, 'You protect us at the front, we'll safeguard you on the home front.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

President Reuven Rivlin with Netzah Yehuda soldiers
President Reuven Rivlin with Netzah Yehuda soldiers
Mark Neyman / GPO

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin toured the Binyamin Regional Brigade’s headquarters and met with soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda battalion (Nahal Haredi).

Netzah Yehuda is comprised exclusively of haredi soldiers.

Rivlin was briefed on the situation in the area and the battalion's activity in the Binyamin-region area under its control. He was also briefed on the battalion's structure, its operative targets, and the battalion's unique personnel makeup.

Accompanying Rivlin were Planning, Administration and Personnel Division Head Brig. Gen. Eran Shani; Kfir Brigade Head Col. Zion Ratzon; Netzach Yehuda Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Itamar Deshel; and Nahal Haredi Foundation Chairman Aharon Malach.

Later, Rivlin met with soldiers from the unit who told him about the unique social challenges they have encountered since joiining the military.

Some 3,000 haredi soldiers joined the IDF over the past year. Recently, a haredi platoon was opened in the Paratroopers Brigade, joining Netzah Yehuda and the Givati infantry brigade's haredi platoon.

The president thanked the soldiers and their commanders for the visit and said he believes the battalion is in a high state of combat readiness. The battalion, he said, has improved since its establishment several years ago and has become the spearhead in combating terrorism in Judea and Samaria.

“I was told one of the soldiers said upon his release that in the yeshiva he learned how to be a Jew and in the battalion he learned how to be a human being,” Rivlin said. “I think you can learn both in the army and in the yeshiva how to be a Jew as well as how to be a human being.”

“Learning Torah is a value in our Jewish existence and so should be the need to ensure our security. These are not contradictory values, they are complementary.

“I have been following the Netzach Yehuda ballation for quite a few years, sometimes from afar and sometimes from up close. I know some of you have uneasy life stories. There are difficulties with your families, your close environment, and despite all of this you recruited and you are determined to defend your country.

“You are the finest among our sons, you protect us in the front and we need to protect you back at home. You, the soldiers of Netzach Yehuda, keep awake at nights in ambushes and checkpoints, fight terrorists and other enemies, and it is inconceivable that when you return to your home neighborhoods someone will dare raise their hand against you.

“It cannot be that in the State of Israel an IDF soldier will go to a synagogue to pray and will be attacked. It must not happen. We should not generalize and it is clear to me that the vast majority of the haredi public condemns such violence, but still those who raise a hand against IDF soldiers, those who attack soldiers for being soldiers – they will be punished to the full extent of the law.

“We will not return to our daily lives when you and other soldiers are being attacked.”

“We thank his honor the president for his visit to the battalion,” said Malach, whose Nahal Haredi Foundation accompanies haredi soldiers during their service. “We very much appreciate his warm conduct with the haredi soldiers and his encouragement – and these become even more important during these days when extremists from the margins of haredi society attack soldiers.”

“The president’s message on integration coming from dialogue, and his consistent stand on this issue, are also important. As the organization that has been accompanying haredi soldiers for more than 15 years we know how important it is and we know that only cooperation coming from understanding between the different tribes comprising the mosaic of Israeli society can bring an optimal integration of the haredi community within the ranks of the IDF.”

President Reuven Rivlin with Netzah Yehuda soldeiers
Mark Neyman / GPO
President Reuven Rivlin visits Netzah Yehuda battalion
Mark Neyman / GPO