Biton to ultra-Orthodox IDF soldiers: You are modern Maccabees

Minister Michael Biton also said that the Defense Ministry intends to expand the program for ultra-Orthodox draft.

Minister Michael Biton, Netzach Yehuda Association CEO Yossi Levy, and Jewish-American businessman and philanthropist  David Hager. (photo credit: NETZACH YEHUDA ASSOCIATION)
Minister Michael Biton, Netzach Yehuda Association CEO Yossi Levy, and Jewish-American businessman and philanthropist David Hager.
(photo credit: NETZACH YEHUDA ASSOCIATION)
Strategic Affairs Minister Michael Biton, who also serves as minister for civic issues within the Defense Ministry, expressed his support for the Netzach Yehuda Association, an organization that assists ultra-Orthodox IDF soldiers, in a meeting on integration of ultra-Orthodox soldiers into the IDF framework.
Biton expressed his admiration for the organization and the ultra-Orthodox combat soldiers who serve in it, calling them "the Maccabees of our time," for standing "by the courage of their spiritual convictions."
Biton went on to thank the soldiers in the name of the Defense Ministry saying, "on the one hand they maintained their religious and spiritual identity, and on the other, they served their country and sprung to life.”
He commented on the success of the program saying that "the first battalion was made up of thirty soldiers – and suddenly we’ve reached 13,000. This is just the beginning. You are the future of the State of Israel, guarantors of our national security."
Biton also said that the Ministry intends to expand the program. "We will expand this track to additional units, including Golani, Armored Corps, and the Air Force. We will work together and build communities of Netzach Yehuda graduates, because you are the future of the State of Israel!"
Netzach Yehuda Association CEO Yossi Levy thanked the minister for coming explaining that they program helps close gaps between the IDf and the ultra-Orthodox population.
"It is especially important at a time when the draft law is back on the table, that the government make an effort to invest in those who do choose to enlist in the IDF without compromising their ultra-Orthodox identity. This is not just about those who serve in regular service, but also military graduates who wish to have a profession after their release. We are now working to establish a centralized community for the thousands of graduates - this is a real social revolution and the bridge between the IDF and the Ultra-Orthodox public," said Levy.
Netzach Yehuda began as a small company of 32 troops but is now one of the largest battalions in the IDF, with religious soldiers from a wide range of haredi sects, ranging from ultra-Orthodox Israelis to new immigrants to those who identify with the radical Hilltop Youth settler movement.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.