Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Some IDF Cadets Listen To Rabbis Over Commanders, Former Defense Minister Says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Religious pre-military academies are creating “private militias” that listen to their rabbis over their military commanders, Avigdor Liberman charged.

Liberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and formerly defense minister, made the statement during an address at the annual Herzliya policy conference.

“We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Religious pre-military academies have prepared a series of the best, most courageous [IDF] fighters and I hope they continue to operate,” he said. “But today, the story of the religious pre-military academies is that they are developing in the direction of religious private militias.”

Liberman later clarified his remarks, saying in a Facebook post that his criticism is directed at the rabbis and not the cadets.

“I meet the graduate students of the academies and they are the salt of the earth, but in order to preserve this tremendous educational entity we must cut them off from the Smotriches and their ilk,” he wrote. Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich recently said Israel should follow Torah law and “I work for God.”

Liberman also said in his remarks that when students at one military academy were asked if their rabbi and their commander gave them contradictory instructions, who would they obey. Some said their rabbi.

He also said that the haredi Orthodox and national-religious parties are “in the hands of extremists” and will sit in the opposition in the next government. Liberman refused to sit in a government with haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, parties following the April elections, making it impossible for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.