Netanyahu with chief rabbis
Netanyahu with chief rabbisAmos Ben Gershom, Flash 90

Israel's chief rabbis, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, have joined efforts to pressure Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stop the transfer of the Jewish Consciousness department from the IDF Rabbinate to the personnel directorate. 

The letter signed by the rabbis states that, "The Jewish Consciousness department in the IDF works for all Israeli soldiers, reinforcing Jewish awareness and imparting basic Jewish values to all soldiers."

"Recently a decision was made to move the department from the IDF Rabbinate, even though it has always acted in a crucial and blessed manner, to other hands. The natural place for the Jewish Consciousness Department is with the IDF Rabbinate, where the skills required for imparting Jewish values and tradition are the best."

In the letter, the chief rabbis requested an urgent audience with Netanyahu on the issue and stressed that the purpose of such a meeting would be to make the case for why the transfer would weaken the imparting of Jewish identity and tradition to soldiers. 

The chief rabbis expressed serious concern that transferring the Jewish Consciousness Department away from the IDF Rabbinate would mean ruin for the IDF and its soldiers. 

"We believe the process to transfer must be halted, and the department returned [to the Rabbinate], or else it could spell the destruction of the IDF, its soldiers and Jewish consciousness in the army."

Earlier on Wednesday, a letter signed by over 100 prominent religious Zionist rabbis called on the Prime Minister to stop the transfer and not cause undue harm to the IDF Rabbinate.