The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a
petition to the High Court on behalf of a charedi soldier
ordering the IDF to supply him with kosher food and to refund
him for money he had spent on food.
The petition also asks the Court to issue a temporary
injunction forcing the IDF to uphold an agreement with the
soldier, a combat paramedic in an operational unit in the
south, over the supply of kosher food.
Since his conscription two-and-a-half years ago, the soldier
has purchased all his meals, because the IDF refused to
provide him with kosher lemehadrin food, such as that with a
Badatz or Hatam Sofer label.
The association's legal advisor, attorney Dan Yakir, said that
denying a soldier food is an affront to his human dignity and
a transgression of his religious freedoms.
During basic training, the soldier ate only bread and
vegetables. Once he was moved to Air Force headquarters in Tel
Aviv, the petition claims, he still did not receive food with
an adequate kashruth certificate.
The soldier said he filed a request to receive expenses, but
the Air Force Rabbinate's official in charge of
kashruth refused to exempt him from eating at an IDF
In April 2000, the soldier filed a complaint with the army
ombudsman, who rejected the claim, saying it is impossible to
meet the demands of each soldier.
Two months later, the soldier turned to ACRI, which appealed
the chief military advocacy. Subsequently, the head officer of
the IDF food center, along with army rabbinate officers,
agreed to send the soldier a weekly food package with a Badatz
kashruth certificate and to refund his previous food
The army, however, stopped delivery after one week and only
partially refunded his expenses.
The soldier claims, in the petition, that during the past
shmitta year, he has suffered from malnutrition because
he cannot eat most of the fruits and vegetables supplied by
He said he has been forced to eat sandwiches brought from home
after weekend breaks that usually last for a day or two. He
also claims that on one occasion when he was on the base for
Sabbath duty, he had to fast, surviving only on ice cubes left
in a jug of juice.
He said that since he often serves in the field, away from his
base, food expenses would not benefit him.
The soldier's commanding officer has also filed a complaint to
the army ombudsman, demanding the soldier receive necessary
"Especially at this time, when the question of conscription of
yeshiva students is getting public exposure, it is important
to solve the problems of this unique sector of society, which
is the vanguard and ambassador of the orthodox community,"
wrote the officer.