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Rabbis can serve in German military for the first time in 90 years

The German parliament voted unanimously Thursday to allow rabbis to serve as military chaplains in the Bundeswher, Germany’s military.

Rabbis have not been able to serve as chaplains in the German military since Adolf Hitler expelled them in 1933. Jewish soldiers could only use Protestant or Catholic military chaplains.

The change was first put forward in December 2019 by Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who also said she would work to allow imams and Christian Orthodox priests to serve as chaplains.

Germany saw a spike in anti-Semitism last year, evidenced in part by an attack on a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur.

“This is a special sign of solidarity and recognition,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said to the parliament.

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at boigon@forward.com or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon

German military finally re-accepts rabbis

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Rabbis can serve in German military for the first time in 90 years

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