IDF’s chooses western ethics over Jewish ones.

“Who is shutting the mouth of the IDF’s chief Rabbi?” – Maariv reports that a vip conference on War Ethics had invited Rabbi Ronsky the chief Rabbi of the IDF to present. The  IDF Spokesman then denied him permission to speak claiming that the topic was not in his authority and is sending the IDF’s chief attorney instead. This relates to recent limitations placed on the role of the Rabbinate in the military’s educational programing. I believe this is part of a conscious policy decision to establish western pluralistic values as the core identity of the Army, as opposed to traditional Jewish values, as demonstrated here. This is not new, almost twenty years ago as an educational officer in the IDF I was disgusted at the way the dominantly secular command promoted a secular Jewish identity while censoring anything that smelled of Torah. The most disturbing thing part of this was that it presented aggressive censorship as an enlightened pluralistic position, a skewed perspective that made it impossible for me to communicate my frustration to my commanding officer, we simply occupied different universes.
Let me make clear that at my core I am tolerant, and in many ways pluralistic in my worldview. I believe that other types of Jewish identity, including Reform, Conservative and completely Secular deserve respect and are legitimate (Mistaken, but legitimate). At the same time it seems to me that there is a cultural battle going on for the heart and soul of this country, one which threatens its meaning at the core. Most of those who are fighting it are those who would not place themselves in the moderate camp. It is extremely important that those of us who believe in this country, and the partnership between Dati and Chiloni that built it, be willing to call a spade a spade and cry foul when democracy is wielded as a sword cutting us off from our roots.

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2 Comments to “IDF’s chooses western ethics over Jewish ones.”

  1. Well, Aaron, we did not speak for quite a long time, so I find it wierd to comment. I find your post falling into the dichotomies and polarities that the extreme edges are promoting. I do not like the presentation of Western values as contrasted with Jewish ones. I do find the IDF chief rabbi promoting problematic aspects of our Jewish heritage, bringing the spirit of one hundrend Philistines foreskins into the IDF. I was very bothered when I saw the soldiers singing religious and messianic songs on their way to Gaza few months ago. So before defending the chief rabbi simply because he is suppose to be a representative of Jewish spirit in the army – I would like to ask you whether his perspective of Jewish Values is the one you also share?

  2. Moshe, great to hear from you. I am pointing to what I perceive as a larger issue, one which goes back to my days in the army. I do not see western values as contrary to Jewish ones, but unfortunately there are many secular Israelis alienated from Torah, and from God, who in the name of pluralism and modernity seek to control and limit the types of Jewish expression in the Army.
    As to Rabbi Ronsky, I am sure that I share some of his values, and others I do not. I do believe that there should be a place for every soldier going into battle to connect with God, and that the messianic vision of our people is part and parcel of what we are doing here in the land, and the bedrock upon which we can justify our presence here. I do not think that right wing politics has a place in the Army, and if that indeed happened then he should be reprimanded, but there is a higher order of Jewish content which is crucial. It should set aside Halachik observance, and political positions, and relate to higher order spirituality, and national identity, which is common to most Israelis, indeed most Humans.

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