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God’s Army?

Is the IDF getting too Jewish?

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(Michael Gottschalk/AFP/Getty Images)

Day-to-day operations in the Israel Defense Force often expose soldiers to a host of ideological conflicts: between settlers and Palestinians, right- and left-wing perspectives on a two-state solution, and of course, as has been in the news a lot lately, between secular and religious Jews. The IDF itself mandates a “code of ethics and ideological agnosticism,” soldiers told the Christian Science Monitor. However, reports the paper, recently there have been signs of encroaching religious ideas; chief military rabbi Avichai Rontzki and his representatives have been spotted trolling military bases for soldiers interested in chatting about how “the ‘holiness of the people of Israel’ would keep them safe,” passing out pamphlets offering biblical justification for merciless treatment of Palestinians, and insisting on monthly Torah discussions. And while when it comes to war, says one expert, “meaning must be given” for the destruction and force necessary, what Rontzki has been implementing “is way beyond the limits.” Between the fact that, as the CSM reports, “nationalist religious conscripts have replaced soldiers from secular farming kibbutzim, and have risen to be mid-level officers,” and the recent call from Religious Zionist rabbi Shlomo Aviner to exclude non-Jews from service (as per Maimonides, he claims), the army may have to watch out before it loses its tenuous commitment to neutrality.

In Israeli Army, Rabbis Deepen Religious Tone. Is that Kosher? [CSM]

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Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

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God’s Army?

Is the IDF getting too Jewish?

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