A religious solder serving in the Central Command Tank Corps
was sentenced to 28 days in prison after he had merely asked
to daven before sof zman tefilla,the time
limit for shacharis.
After the soldier had spent eight days in a military prison,
O.C. Central Command Brigadier General Moshe Yaalon
intervened and ordered his release.
The incident took place last week, when an IDF tank force
held maneuvers which began before dawn. The religious soldier
couldn't daven before the start of the drill because
the time for shacharis had not yet arrived.
The soldier, along with other religious soldiers, planned to
start the drill and to daven later, during a break.
However when the drill continued until zman shacharis
had nearly passed, he told his commander that the religious
soldiers should be allowed to daven before it was too
The commander repeatedly refused the request, and ordered the
soldier to mount his tank.
The commander then called a brief recess, during which he
took the soldier directly to the military court. The platoon
commander sentenced the soldier to 28 days in the military
prison. The soldier was taken to prison immediately after the
The OC Central Command Moshe Yaalon, who heard of the affair,
ordered the soldier's release after one week. The IDF
spokesman verified these details and said: "The soldier was
tried for his refusal to obey an order, due to his refusal to
continue participating in the drill, since he hadn't been
given time to pray.
"Later on," the IDF spokesman said, "at the end of the drill,
the soldier was promised time to pray."
The report ignores, of course, the matter of zman
tefilla, although it is included in military regulations.
"All procedures relating to prayer services in the unit will
be refreshed," the report states.
Rabbi Moshe Gafni noted that there have recently been many
cases of mistreatment of observant soldiers. He intends to
turn to the Deputy Minister of Defense Ephraim Sneh, and to
ask that the IDF publicly explain the reason for the high
incidence of such cases. "The IDF must decide whether the
army is interested in religious soldiers, or whether it
prefers not to draft them" Rabbi Gafni said.