Religious soldier
Religious soldierFlash 90

Southern Command human resources officer Col. Alon Matzliach wrote a religious soldier who requested permission to grow his beard: "I believe a religious lifestyle can be maintained even without a beard. You have to shave."

The soldier, a combatant in Gaza, submitted the request to the senior officer as required with the recommendation of a military rabbi, but was met with flat refusal by Colonel Matzliach, who included his personal opinion in the decision.

Army regulations allow every soldier who maintains a religious way of life to grow his beard. The order was sharpened after the "beard storm" when soldiers complained about powers granted to high officers detached from their everyday tasks. As a result, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot ordered about a year ago to restore beard permission-granting authority to commanders on the ground, with the recommendation of a military rabbi.

The Tzav Echad organization on behalf of soldiers told Arutz Sheva, "We wonder where Colonel Matzliah, who is not yet a rabbi in Israel, draws the nerve to express his personal opinion that is inconsistent with a clear military order. Despite improvement in the subject following our struggle, we still encounter cases of harm to the soldiers' faith and the behavior of Matzliah, whose involvement in harassing soldiers this isn't the first, reflects contempt and disdain. We call upon the Chief of Staff to take steps against the officer and leave the decision to grow a beard throughout the entire military service to the soldier himself on the day of his enlistment."

The IDF Spokesperson has not yet responded.