Israeli Army Frowns on Beards

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By Stanley Siegelman

Published May 14, 2009.
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NEWS ITEM: The Israeli military has issued new regulations that impose greater restrictions on the ability of soldiers to grow beards. Religious soldiers are still allowed to have facial hair, but now they must get authorization from their units’ rabbis and commanders — a policy that has come in for some criticism. Recently, an Orthodox army rabbi refused to allow Conservative Jewish soldiers to claim a religious exemption from the beard ban.


In Israel, they’ve long adhered
To admiration of the beard.
The army chieftains now declare
Their opposition to such hair.

On beards they have declared a war,
Result: furor, uproar galore!
A soldier yearning for a growth
Must get permission, swear an oath
That as an Orthodox recruit
He is obliged to be hirsute.

His officer may freely choose
To say “OK,” or to refuse!
Religious soldiers, up till now,
Were not expected to kowtow.

In past, the military feared
To tussle with this thing: the beard,
Which by the Bible is required,
And by believers much desired.
But now the army, at its peak,
Wants all enlistees to look sleek!

It isn’t just, it isn’t fair!
It’s barber-ous to mess with hair
While those who think a shave’s a sin
Are taking it upon the chin!


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