IDF reforms burial ordinance: Secular, civil funerals in military cemeteries allowed

In response to a petition filed by Hiddush an organization for religious freedom and equality, the IDF has announced its new ordinance regarding fallen IDF soldier burials: non-religious, civil ceremonies will be permitted at the surviving family's request, even for burial in military cemeteries.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster, FLASH90/Channel 2 News

The IDF announced it will begin allowing non-religious, civil funerals: Families of the fallen will now be able to choose a secular, civil funeral ceremony, even in the IDF’s military cemetery. This new order was issued following a petition submitted by the trans-denominational nonprofit organization, Hiddush: For Religious Freedom and Equality.

Until this reform, in order to be buried in the military cemeteries, a religious ceremony per the fallen soldier’s religion, was required. Families who wished to bury their loved ones in a civil, secular burial were required to do so in a civilian cemetery, without symbols of honor or military ceremony. According to the new ordinance, "the surviving relative is permitted during the funeral planning, to choose whether it wishes to have the religious characteristics of the funeral ceremony or not."

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"We welcome this important step taken by the military authorities in response to our demand," said Rabbi Uri Regev, Hiddush’s director general. "The new order represents a true revolution in such a sensitive area that for decades had been under the control of the Orthodox military rabbinate, without any justification, as was previously claimed by the IDF and defense ministry."



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