Haredi combat soldiers 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A battalion of haredi soldiers has won an IDF award for excellence and, in addition, has been nominated for four other marks of distinction.
The Netzah Yehuda battalion, also known as the Nahal Haredi, received the IDF’s award for excellence from the department of technology and logistics last Wednesday.
The battalion was awarded the prize by the IDF’s Technology and Logistics Division after several surprise tests were conducted at the base by serving members of the technology and logistics branch, who gave the haredi unit a grade of 99 out of 100.
The rabbis attached to the Nahal Haredi battalion expressed pride in their soldiers and their recent achievements following the bestowal of the award.
“This is the best proof that when the requirements of haredi soldiers are taken into account, when suitable conditions are provided for them in the IDF, and when matters are conducted with dialogue and understanding, haredi recruits can be exceptional soldiers,” the battalion’s rabbi’s said in a joint statement to the press.
In addition to the award for technology and logistics, Netzah Yehuda is also a candidate for the Chief of Staff’s prize for creativity and exceptional combat campaign achievements; an award from the Senior Commander for Infantry troops for excellence in maintaining security in the haredi unit’s training sector; as well as awards for safety and education.
These winners of these awards will announced in the coming weeks.
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The battalion was nominated for the education award due to the high level of cooperation with its designated education officer and the rabbis of the Nahal Haredi Foundation, who, in coordination with the army, accompany the haredi soldiers from the beginning of their military service till the end.
According to people involved in promoting Netzah Yehuda, this cooperation has created a specific educational program that has been adapted especially for haredi soldiers and has been very well received. Winning the award has led to an increase in funding for the battalion and better equipment for the soldiers.
Several dozen new recruits are expected to join Netzah Yehudah in the next few weeks.
Concerns have been raised in several quarters that many recruits to the unit are not from the haredi mainstream, are either from the national religious sector or marginalized and at risk youth from the ultra-Orthodox community.
Netzah Yehuda recruiters claim however that in the most recent draft to the unit, between 80 and 90 percent of the recruits are graduates from haredi yeshivas.
There are currently 500 soldiers in Nahal Haredi on active duty, which lasts two years, with another 270 in the year long pre-military study course.
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