By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
As thousands of the Ultra-Orthodox community protested violently at various cities across Israel against a government bill that may bring to their draft into the IDF, 170 soldiers of the Ultra Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion were sworn in on Thursday (Feb 6).
Hundreds of family members from Jerusalem who came to show support for the soldiers at the swearing-in ceremony passed by the violent demonstration at the entrance to the city
Rabbi Yizchak Bar-Haim of the Nahal Hareidi Foundation, who accompanied the soldiers throughout their training, said: “These two contradicting events, the protests and the swearing-in ceremony, emphasize what we and the IDF command have been saying for a year: if the draft of the Ultra-Orthodox becomes a religious war no Haredi will enlist, and there will be protests. If there is cooperation, dialogue, and a mutual construction of the suitable systems we will witness an enlistment on a large scale of Ultra-Orthodox youth who are not suitable to sit and learn, as we have seen today.”
A military report concerning a commander’s course in which 11 of the 95 participants were from the Nahal Haredi stated: “From the outset of the course, the soldiers of the Nahal Haredi made a positive impression, performing as high caliber infantrymen, showing serious participation in coursework, and conducting themselves in a serious manner. They got along well with the rest of the soldiers in the group, and adjusted well socially with the general public at the base. They conducted themselves according to halachah and gave reinforcement to other observant soldiers in the larger group of participants.”
Over the past year, a sharp rise was recorded in the number of the brigade’s enlisting soldiers. 286 soldiers enlisted to the unit in November, a 70% increase compared to the previous November. In annual totals, 754 soldiers enlisted for the battalion, a 50% rise from 2012. The Nahal Hareidi has won several prizes in recent months. It won the IDF Department of Technology and Logistics’ Award in November, and a month later made IDF history by winning the Chief of Staff’s Prize for the first time.
The purpose of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion is to allow religious Israelis to serve in the IDF in an atmosphere conducive to their religious convictions, within a framework that is strictly halachically