Military cafeteria (illustrative)
Military cafeteria (illustrative)IDF spokesperson

IDF soldiers serving at the Tze'elim base in southern Israel participated a few weeks ago in an event at a Bedouin encampment in the area, where they were served foods which had not received kashrut (kosher) approval by the base rabbi, in violation of IDF policy.

The event was a farewell event for the exercise and training commander, Major-General Motti Baruch. According to a source familiar with the details, foods prepared by the hosts were served, and it is not clear what their kashrut status is, though this is in violation of IDF policy.

Israel National News - Arutz Sheva has been informed that the Tze'elim base rabbi, Major Aviad Hazani, noticed the issue during the planning stages of the event and warned the Ground Forces Rabbi, Lieutenant Colonel Nir Yaffeh, who passed the notice to IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim. Rabbi Karim then clarified that it is forbidden to plan an event in such a fashion, but did not do anything beyond this, and the event took place as planned.

The source also said that a senior official in the IDF, who heard of Rabbi Hazani's attempts to intervene and even turned to Rabbinate officials, threatened to have him dismissed.

Rabbi Aviad Gadot, who served as a military rabbi, supported Rabbi Hazani, telling Israel National News: "Rabbi Major Hazani, who is there on the ground, attempted to carry out his task according to the instructions of the Chief Military Rabbi himself, and for this he deserves respect and appreciation, not threats of dismissal."

"It is very unfortunate to see that the IDF Chief Rabbi, Brigadier-General Rabbi Karim, was not at the event and did not support his command. It is very saddening to see a respected commander such as Brigadier-General Gopman acting in such a fashion, which harms those in his charge (most of the IDF eats kosher) and violates the General Staff's commands, while falsely supporting the IDF spokesperson who covers up the painful facts," he said.

"The IDF Chief Rabbi Law, which we are promoting, is supposed to deal exactly with value-oriented failures such as this - and to strengthen the IDF in its weakest link today - Judaism."

An IDF spokesperson responded: "The meal under discussion took place as part of a cooperation between the National Ground Command and the leadership of the Bedouin tribe which lives beside the base. In order to respect all of those present, kosher food was served at the event, from a kitchen which was set up at the site by the National Ground Command, in addition to the meal which was served by the hosts."