Gadi Eizenkot
Gadi EizenkotFlash 90

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot addressed issues in a letter that MK Moti Yogev had written him recently, in which Yogev cited cases religious discrimination on IDF bases expressed in the banning of Torah dedication ceremonies on some bases.

In his reply, the the Chief of Staff gave a subtle nod in favor of combating the discrimination, though he generally framed the issue as one connected to a mere lack of regulation of use of items donated to the army.

"In recent months, the IDF has been working hard to regulate the issue of contributions to the IDF.

"Within the context of checks that took place, irregularities connected to events were identified (Bar Mitzva ceremonies held on a base, food contributions and the use of IDF equipment by donors), including those connected to Torah dedication ceremonies," he wrote.

Eisenkot emphasized that he supports donations meant to benefit the soldiers, including Torah scrolls, "but we cannot allow unregulated use of IDF facilities."

However, he added that "Torah dedication ceremonies will continue, and will include singing and happiness in accordance with Jewish tradition," though he qualified the ceremonies must adhere to "the principles of a modest army and events that don't mesh with the values of the IDF need to be prevented."

Nevertheless, MK Yogev received the letter as a positive development, seeing in it the IDF's acknowledgement of the importance of the Torah: "I am happy about the reply of the Chief of Staff, who understands the value of the Torah to Israel, and to the soldiers in particular. We will continue to keep track of implementation of the order."