Charedim back IDF — spir­i­tu­ally

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

THE GAZA con­flict has spurred an out­pour­ing of sup­port for the army from Charedim — in the midst of their fight against the IDF draft.

Some of the most ve­he­ment op­po­nents of army ser­vice — most no­tably the revered rabbi Aharon Leib Shtein­man — have called on their fol­low­ers to pray for troops and carry ex­tra re­li­gious rites in their hon­our. He de­scribed the soldiers as “our broth­ers”.

There are also grass-roots ini­tia­tives. The Shemira Project is­sues sub­scribers with a sol­dier’s name, and they be­come the sol­dier’s spir­i­tual guardian, with “acts of kind­ness, prayer or To­rah learn­ing” in­tended to se­cure them ex­tra di­vine pro­tec­tion.

“The fam­i­lies of soldiers en­joy the re­as­sur­ance of spir­i­tual con­nec­tion for their chil­dren,” claimed an ar­ti­cle in the Charedi news­pa­per Hamodia.

But many Is­raelis say that such state­ments ring hol­low while the re­fusal to serve con­tin­ues. The in­flu­en­tial rabbi Natan Slifkin mocked the Charedi claim that their spir­i­tual en­deav­ours make them part­ners with soldiers in the con­flict.

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