Eli Ben Dahan 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Since being elected to the Knesset and appointed deputy minister for religious
services, Bayit Yehudi MK Eli Ben-Dahan has had to fight battles on numerous
fronts – be it the struggle within his party over which candidate to back for
chief rabbi, or the internecine skirmishes that have erupted within the
coalition over pieces of contentious legislation.
But while clear-cut
successes in the game of political combat are often hard to achieve, at least he
has claimed victory in his latest battle: The IDF has cleared him to continue in
his position as a reserve duty operations officer for the Artillery
Following his election and ministerial appointment, the IDF
informed the 59- year-old Ben-Dahan, a major in the reserves, that he would no
longer be serving in the position he had hitherto fulfilled. The army told him
that he would instead be assigned a clerical position away from any significant
But Ben-Dahan says he was dissatisfied with this
situation and, believing that he could still contribute to the armed forces,
asked to be returned to his unit in the Artillery Corps. The deputy minister has
been serving in the reserve Artillery Corps for close to four decades and was
loath to give it up.
As an operations officer, Ben-Dahan is responsible
for coordinating operations between different batteries and artillery units and
ensuring that the correct targets are being fired on, among other
“It’s a job that requires a great deal of knowledge and
understanding of the nature of an artillery unit, so because of my experience in
the field, I didn’t see any reason to stop serving,” he told The Jerusalem Post
He added that by continuing to serve in the army, he could
provide a personal example of the ability to integrate the values of a religious
lifestyle and those of physically safeguarding the country.
ordained rabbi, served for 21 years as the director of the state rabbinical
court system. He is scheduled to receive a promotion to lieutenantcolonel (res.)
in the coming months.
Asked about the particularly heavy burden of
service within the Artillery Corps, of which many soldiers often complain,
Ben-Dahan said that as he is not as young as he used to be, he no longer handles
artillery shells himself.
The deputy minister has, however, experienced
the realities of war, and was on active duty in the field during the 1982
Lebanon War, known as Operation Peace for Galilee.