Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue927 2022

Last update02:07 AM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Human Rights
Israeli Soldier Says Military Rabbis Framed Gaza Mission as Religious
Israeli Soldier Says Military Rabbis Framed Gaza Mission as Religious
A soldier involved in Israel’s recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip said in published reports Friday that the military’s rabbinical staff distributed material characterizing the operation as a religious mission to "get rid of the gentiles who disturb us from conquering the holy land."
Monday, March 23,2009 04:09
by Howard Schneider WashingtonPost

A soldier involved in Israel"s recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip said in published reports Friday that the military"s rabbinical staff distributed material characterizing the operation as a religious mission to "get rid of the gentiles who disturb us from conquering the holy land."

In the second day of published accounts from soldiers critical of the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza, the daily Maariv ran excerpts of an interview with a squad commander in Israel"s Givati Brigade. He was identified only by his first name, given as Rahm.

The daily quoted him as saying that the Gaza operation from the beginning had "the feeling of almost a religious mission."

While military rabbis provided routine services -- such as distributing books of psalms and leading prayers at the start of the operation -- some religious materials veered in a political direction, he said.

"The military rabbinate brought many magazines and articles with a very clear message: "We are the Jewish people, a miracle brought us to the land of Israel, God returned us to the land, and now we have to struggle so as to get rid of the gentiles who disturb us from conquering the holy land." All the feeling throughout all this operation of many of the soldiers was of a war of religions," he said. "As a commander, I tried to explain that the war is not a war of Kiddush Hashem [the sanctification of God"s name, including through martyrdom] but over the stopping of the launching of the Qassam rockets."

The rockets are one of several types that Hamas and other Islamist groups fire from Gaza into Israel. Palestinian health officials said about 1,400 Palestinians died in the three weeks of fighting in December and January, including what United Nations officials said were hundreds of civilians. Thirteen Israelis died, including three civilians.

The publication of the soldiers" accounts has elevated a set of issues that Palestinian organizations and human rights groups have raised since early in the Gaza operation. On Thursday, the IDF"s chief lawyer opened an investigation following the publication of reports in which soldiers spoke of unnecessary civilian deaths and needless property destruction.

The soldiers" accounts were elicited by the head of a training school for future military recruits. At a recent gathering, graduates of the school described how the realities of military life clashed with the values taught in the school"s curriculum.

The school is named in honor Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli leader who signed the 1993 Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians and who was assassinated by an Israeli who opposed the agreements. The school is secular in nature and its graduates would likely be sensitive to the intrusion of religious politics into the conduct of a military operation, said retired Brig. Gen. Meir Elran, a security analyst with the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Given that one of Israel"s chief struggles is against organizations, such as Hamas, that entwine religion and violence, the presence of similar material among Israeli soldiers is disturbing, Elran said.

"You cannot but think about the other side, too," said Elran, who noted that the traditional role for military rabbis was to ensure that kitchens were kosher and to conduct services as needed. Although ultra-Orthodox Jews are exempt from military service on religious grounds, Elran said the number of religious Jews in the military has been increasing.

Still, "when you talk about the military in a country where you have compulsory service, I find it a bit odd that military rabbis would go further than just giving religious services to those who want it or need it," he said.

The issue surfaced publicly shortly after the Gaza operation, known as Operation Cast Lead. An Israeli human rights group publicized material that encouraged soldiers to show no mercy to their enemies and that said there was a biblical ban on surrendering Israeli territory to non-Jews.

The material, according to excerpts published at the time in the daily Haaretz, cut to the core of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, comparing the Palestinians to Old Testament invaders who now "claim they deserve a state here."

IDF spokesman Elie Isaacson said that there was an investigation at the time and that a member of the rabbinical staff was reprimanded for distributing unauthorized material. Isaacson said it was considered an isolated incident.

"If you are religious, the army gives you the right to practice, but the mixing of politics and religion -- it is a big taboo," he said. The military rabbis "don"t make policy. They don"t make decisions."

The Source

Posted in Human Rights , Activites , Palestine , Palestine , Human Rights  
Related Articles
Haneyya legal advisor: Gov’t collecting evidence on Israeli war crimes
Hamas deplores Israel’s ban on events marking Jerusalem as Arab cultural capital
Israel’s Dirty Secrets in Gaza
Isolated Israel
Baraka: Testimonies of Israeli soldiers enough to indict leaders of war crimes
Israel arrests Hamas members
Hamas: Israel will fail to blackmail us through kidnapping our leaders in WB
Report: Israel killed 1,434 Palestinians most of them civilians during Gaza war
Mr. Obama: Don’t let Israel destroy America
Obama backs off on Israel, again
CIA Report: Israel Will Fall In 20 Years
Report: Palestinian prisoners face numerous kinds of suffering in Israeli jails
Hamas’s popularity rises after Israel’s Gaza war
Palestine and Israel: Time for Plan B
The United States of Israel
Expert: Obama’s Administration Prioritises settlement of Arab-Israeli Conflict
Take Action on President Obama’s FY2010 Budget Request for Military Aid to Israel
Hamas demands Arab and Islamic stands against Israeli violations
Judge Madhoun: We will work vigorously to prosecute Israeli war criminals
Turkish newspaper: Israel plans to oust Turkish premier Erdogan
Abbas has no right to ask Hamas to recognize Israel
Haneyya: The dialog is a way for the national deliverance
Clinton angry at Israeli obstacles to delivery of aid to Gaza
Haneyya gov’t deplores IOA intent to demolish 88 Palestinian homes in J’lem
Israel’s Dirty War in Gaza and Complicity of Her Allies
GERMANY-1933 vs ISRAEL- 2009
"We control America" -Israel’s stranglehold over US politics
Farra: Israel destroyed 3,000 residential units in Khan Younis
Dichter castigates Jordan for intending to sue Israel for war crimes in Gaza
British lawmakers call for holding Israel accountable for its crimes in Gaza
Israel Lurches Into Fascism
Urgent appeal to save Jerusalem and Aqsa Mosque from coming Israeli attacks
Tadamun society: Israel demolished more than 20 buildings in W. Bank this year
A Message to Israel: Time to Stop Playing the Victim Role
Hamas: "Zionist" right’s rise shows Israel gets more radical
Turkey condemns Israel over recent comments
Barghouhti: Israel should pay compensations for the huge damage in Gaza
Ex-Egyptian foreign affairs official calls for isolating Israel internationally
Hamdan: Israel is fully responsible for its retreat from the truce agreement
Nazzal: The battle of Gaza unveiled Israel’s true face
Erdogan: Results of Israeli elections will make future of the region "bleak"
Haneyya government resolves misunderstanding with UNRWA
Haneyya gov’t denies UNRWA allegations of seizing relief aid from its depots
Haneyya gov’t slams Michel’s statements against the resistance as shameless
Haneyya invites Ihsanoglu to visit Gaza
Haneyya gov’t: The closure of Gaza crossings is carnage and a war declaration
Haneyya government: Abbas’s speech proved his irresponsibility
Haneyya government appeals for pressuring Israel to open crossings
Haneyya gov’t declares state of emergency after heavy rainfall
Haneyya government provides financial aid of 48 million dollars during 10 months
Haneyya’s gov’t wants warlords in West Bank prosecuted
Haneyya asks Red Cross to work on lifting siege on Gaza
Haneyya condemns Israeli closure of charities, accuses Ramallah of collusion
Haneyya: The road to break the siege is through stabilizing the calm with Israel
Haneyya calls on Egypt to open Rafah crossing if Israel refuses calm
Haneyya: Muslims and Christians are one people sharing the same pain
Haneyya: The ball is now in the court of Israel to reach calm
Haneyya: Carter is not a mediator
Haneyya renews invitation to Carter to visit Gaza
Haneyya: Strategic relationship with Egypt bigger than differences
Haneyya urges Arab leaders to end inter-Palestinian rift, break Gaza siege
Haneyya asks Arab leaders to break the suffocating siege off Gaza
Haneyya gov’t appreciates Libyan stand at UNSC
Haneyya: Israel’s Crimes is Proof of its Leadership’s Hysteria
Haneyya: Palestinians will not allow a return to the status quo ante in Gaza
Haneyya: All Gaza crossings should be opened
Yemeni, Iranian presidents extend condolences to Haneyya
Haneyya: Conspiracies won’t make the Palestinians waive their cause
Poll: Haneyya most popular figure in Arab world