Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Rabbi of the Samaria regional council and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Elon Moreh, wrote to his students serving in the IDF not to eat from military kitchens if the plan to introduce dairy cooking to IDF bases is implemented.
The Army's Technology and Logistics Division seeks to allow dairy food to be cooked at bases, something the military rabbinate has banned for decades due to the difficulties in preventing forbidden mixing of meat and dairy.
Rabbi Levanon wrote to his students: "As we are familiar with the conduct of military kitchens, we know for sure that this change will inevitably lead to religious conflicts, and, God forbid, cause religious and traditional soldiers to transgress Jewish law on a regular basis.".
"As long as dairy cooking does not enter the kitchens, you may continue to eat the food cooked in IDF bases. With the introduction of dairy cooking in the kitchens, you will not be able to eat cooked food in military kitchens." Instead, the rabbi presented three possible alternatives: requesting food with particularly strict supervision, field rations, or abstaining from anything cooked.
Following Arutz Sheva's report on the introduction of dairy cooking to the IDF, Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier General Rabbi Eyal Karim announced that he would not agree to any plan for the introduction of dairy cooking unless it was formulated by the military rabbinate.
"The military rabbinate was not involved in the planning process, and therefore opposes any unilateral move," said a representative of the IDF rabbinate. "The Chief Rabbi of the IDF is working vigorously on the issue, and the military rabbinate is currently formulating its professional position on the issue."
Brigadier General Rabbi Karim later wrote to the military rabbis that "Any plan for dairy cooking not formulated by the IDF rabbinate will not receive its approval. There has been no permit issued to approve dairy cooking, and anything to the contrary is the usual exaggeration and misdirection. We have one goal - to keep the IDF kosher. That is our goal, our responsibility, and our jurisdiction according to the law and the IDF regulations. I have clarified this at every possible level in the IDF.
Rabbi Aviad Gadot, who served in the IDF rabbinate, commented to Arutz Sheva that "The rabbinate's status has become so minimal against such reforms that the generals ignore it even in regard to basic religious matters like keeping the kitchens kosher. This requires serious soul-searching on the part o a rabbinate that has become a rubber stamp for the IDF's religious dilemmas like mixed-gender service, military burial, kosher supervision, and more."