religious soldiers 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
With religious soldiers manning key positions throughout the IDF, kippot are not a strange sight within the military. But on Monday, the kippa became the source of concern for the army after a leading religious-Zionist rabbi issued a halachic edict calling on soldiers to disobey any order by their commanders to take their kippot off their heads.
The strange story started last week after the Ma'ariv daily published a story claiming that the army planned to prevent troops from milling around bases while wearing large white-knitted kippot a trend started by Yehuda Sa'ado - winner of last year's popular 'Star is Born' televised music contest. Responding to a question posted on the Moriya website on Monday, Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu wrote that religious soldiers should disobey any order to take off their kippot.
"Imagine if we extinguished the candles they [secular Israelis] lit in memory of [former prime minister] Yitzhak Rabin," Eliahu asked. "The kippa is our flag and anyone who harms our flag harms us."
"Imagine," the rabbi continued, "that tomorrow the army orders everyone to wear kippot the size of a penny or orders soldiers to take off their tzizit and shave their beards...I call on every soldier to disobey this order."
Fearing discontent among many religious soldiers, the army was quick to respond and on Monday denied the report that it issued regulations regarding the type, color or size of kippot religious soldiers were allowed to don.
"Religious soldiers can wear any type of kippa they want to," an IDF officer said. The army, the officer continued, would allow religious soldiers to wear any type of kippa they wanted to but would try and stop secular soldiers from donning large-white Sa'ado-like kippot.
"There are no orders in the IDF regarding kippot and their allowed size, color and wording," one officer explained. "We are however trying to stop non-religious soldiers from wearing Sa'ado kippot since they do out of fun while dishonoring the Jewish religion and the army."
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