Shilo Adler
Shilo AdlerEliran Aharon

Lt. Col. (res.) Shilo Adler, director of the Yesha Council in Judea and Samaria, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the controversial comments of senior journalist Nahum Barnea, who expressed concern that religious Jews will "take over" the IDF.

In his weekly column in Yedioth Ahronoth, Barnea condemned Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ofer Winter who invoked God during Operation Protective Edge. Barnea slandered him as a religious fanatic, and warned that the IDF's top brass is likely to be overrun by those like him "in ten years."

"The Israeli Defense Forces are the people's army," emphasized Adler in an interview with Arutz Sheva. "It characterizes and represents all of the populations that exist in the nation of Israel."

"As such an army, even when in the past it was led by generals from the kibbutzim or secular generals, no one asked why it only represents a secular public."

The Yesha Council director emphasized that "today we have merited that the religious public is coming in, and coming in strong. It is a full partner and even more so in taking up the burden and defending the state of Israel. As part of that, the moment there are lots of combat soldiers who are religious there are lots of officers - and that's deserved."

Barnea simply is afraid of reality, according to Adler.

"Nahum Barnea's statements stem from fear and racism. If he had talked about another group they would be saying, 'how could he say something like that.'"

"My response to Nahum Barnea and those like him is that everyone is welcome to the army, the army is the people's army," said Adler. "There is no reason that there should be populations that exclude themselves."

Noting on how many in the secular public neglect their duties to defend the state, he said, "out of those who were with me on the team in Sayeret Golani, unfortunately from the kibbutzim many of my comrades left Israel and are not partners with us in carrying the burden, and they do not serve in the reserves."

"I call on those movements who in the past led the army and led the special forces to return and bear the burden like everyone else."