Haredi soldier who fought to be Mount Herzl standard bearer

Sergeant Major Shlomi Ben-David, member of Safed haredi family, is unique IDF cadet in festive torch-lighting ceremony.

Eliran Aharon ,

IDF standard bearers at final rehearsal
IDF standard bearers at final rehearsal
IDF Spokesman

Among the IDF soldiers preparing for the upcoming Independence Day ceremony was Sergeant Major Shlomi Ben Yair, member of a Safed haredi family who tells of his decision to enlist in the IDF contrary to the family's position and his feelings for the coming holiday.

Ben Yair relates that his father is the head of a Kollel in Safed and "in the beginning when I enlisted my parents didn't accept it, but today, after a long stint in the army, I can say they're proud of me in the meaningful service I do," said Sergeant Major Ben Yair.

Ben Yair is currently serving in a unit in the Home Front Command base. He says participation as a standard bearer at the Independence Day ceremony was a dream for him that he struggled to achieve despite the fact that in the first stage he was not accepted. His parents feel pride in his realizing the dream of participating in the ceremony.

"As Unit Officer the yearning is to be seen in a ceremony that the whole country is looking at and to know that you're part of it; it gives a sense of satisfaction and a desire to fight to be part of this exciting ceremony," he says, adding that the ceremony itself will be attended by his mother which for him crowns the achievement.

"Parents need to know that the child they brought into the world is their child and should accept him as he is and support him, because if they don't support him, the paths which that lack of support will bring him to will be bad ways," says Ben Yair. "When you support a child and show him that you're proud of him, he'll strive forward and reach high achievements."