The Chief Rabbinate of the IDF is incensed over a new policy
enabling the burial of non-Jewish soldiers alongside Jewish
ones in military cemeteries. On 6 Adar, a non- Jewish
immigrant soldier from the C.I.S was buried in the military
cemetery in Netanya after all attempts to stop this were
An intense argument has long been taking place in the IDF on
the issue of the burial of non-Jews in military cemeteries.
Until now, the IDF has refrained from burying non- Jewish
soldiers beside Jewish ones in such cemeteries, despite
media pressure on the issue and attempts by anti-religious
elements to change the policy. The IDF has always said that
the feelings of the families of fallen Jewish soldiers must
be taken into consideration, and that soldiers who are not
Jewish according to halocho should not be buried
beside Jewish ones.
This policy seemed to have changed when a non-Jewish soldier
was buried in the Netanya military cemetery. The soldier's
parents candidly admitted that they are not Jewish.
Nonetheless, this did deter the IDF from burying him in a
row with other soldiers from religious and traditional
families. Needless to say, no one asked the families for
their consent, and no one even informed them about the
According to reliable sources, the Chief Rabbinate of the
IDF is furious over this incident. All attempts to alter the
order to bury the soldier were fruitless. The Chief Rabbi of
the IDF was told that only Defense Minister Ehud Barak could
stop it. It was reported that the Chief Rabbi of the IDF,
Rabbi Yisroel Weiss, met with Ehud Barak and tried to
convince him to prevent the non-Jewish soldier from being
buried beside the Jewish graves. However, Barak did not
comply with his request.
Our reporter asked the IDF Spokesman for his reaction. Last
week, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said: "This story conjoins with a
letter from religious officers from the tank force who
announced that they would not be able to serve in the IDF
due to problems that violate their consciences. The Defense
Ministers always knew how to prevent the introduction of
social rifts into the IDF so that religious soldiers would
officially be able to serve in the army. However, the story
about the burial of a non-Jewish soldier beside Jewish ones -
- some of whom were mitzvah observant -- proves that the
army will not enable service of religious soldiers. This is
liable to result in a breakdown of the military system."
A reply by the IDF Spokesman was received by Yated
Ne'eman: "Every IDF soldier is buried in a manner not
contradicting Jewish halocho, and there has been no
change in IDF policy on this issue." The IDF also denied
that its Chief Rabbi had met with Ehud Barak on this issue.
However, sources available to Yated Ne'eman say that
such a meeting did take place.