The legal claim – a violation of the spirit of equality and fraternity in the IDF
The Compulsory Service Law for Everyone in the State is one of the most important milestones in the State of Israel. However, we all know that in reality the law is unequal and certainly not the same.
Those who do enlist, experience different conditions of service given to different sectors.
A soldier who has proven his religious identity will almost automatically receive a beard exemption from most of the unit, while a secular soldier with a bearded identity will have to fight, challenge, grind water, receive threats of confinement or flushing just to prove his beard is part of his identity and get a beard exemption.
This is a serious violation of equality and brotherhood between secular and religious servants!
Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty
Without going into the fact that soldiers are deprived of the right to choose, how does the army have the right to intervene in a soldier’s body and determine that he must shave his beard day after day after day?
Do you imagine a military order stipulating that female soldiers must shave their head hair? Neither do we.
Fight enemies rather than beards
The war that the IDF is waging against its beards has a price: already today there is a decrease in motivation for service. Fewer young people are enlisting for significant service.
Many recruits are released without advancing to command and permanent because they are not allowed to grow a beard (we have much evidence of this). There is a disconnect between the senior officer and the younger generation and especially the younger generation of commanders, a disconnect that is very evident in the worsening attitude towards the elderly owners that we are experiencing recently. The attitude of young men towards their beard is far beyond the garment they wear and strip.
For most of them it is their identity, part of who they are. Those whose identity is taken away cannot be required to enlist, maintain high motivation, take command or sign a permanent contract. And that is currently the situation on the ground.
Severe damage to morale
Soldiers who are busy proving their bearded identity from the moment they enlist, who feel that a vital part of their self-determination has been taken away from them – are soldiers with lower morale, poor motivation for service, and with less desire to do and give. There are many soldiers (from personal acquaintance) who have gotten into a situation where they actually cut their own face once every few months to get a medical exemption.
Increasing the division among the people as a result of understandable
Despite the current equality order, it is very difficult for a secular soldier to obtain an old-age exemption. Even with the religious soldiers, the situation is not simple – every rabbi has his own “detometer”.
The differences in numbers between the recipients of the exemptions indicate that there is clear discrimination in the IDF, discrimination that is not good for anyone. We are the people’s army. Everyone’s army.
A huge percentage of recruits today declare that the old man is part of his identity. Enough fighting with them.
The link between discipline and growing a beard should be severed immediately. There is no relevance. There are excellent, disciplined and representative units in which soldiers are allowed to grow a beard, such as special units, the Border Police, the Eternal Judea, the Knesset Guard, the Israel Police, the GSS Personnel Unit and more.
Beyond that, there are many senior IDF commanders whose beards adorn their faces:
Brigadier General Dan Goldfuss – Chief Infantry and Paratrooper Officer, Brigadier General David Zini – Commander of the Idan Formation, Brigadier General Dan Neumann – Commander of the Volcano Formation, Brigadier General Ala Abu Roken – Secretary of State for Military Secretary, Col. Guy Papu – Assistant Chief of Staff, Col. Neria Yeshurun - Commander of the Yiftach Design and Guide to the POM, Col. Omer Cohen – Commander of Communications and Electronics Command, Col. Michael Ben Ezra – Chief Scientist of the Land Arm, Lt. Col. Shlomi Maman – Head of the Warning Brigade, Lt. Col. A. – Commander of Magellan, Superintendent Yaakov Shabtai – Commander of the Border Police and other officers and opponents of state glory.
These are between a rock and a hard place – on the one hand they want to grow a beard in a free and normal way, but on the other hand their command legitimacy suffers a blow, they find it difficult to set a personal example as they are committed and supposed, and their military progress may be hampered.
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