Brigade General Avner Paz-Tzuk issued a letter to the IDF Manpower Directorate, requesting to make some changes in the traditional ceremony in which recruits take an oath of allegiance to the military and to the state. He claimed the ceremony should not include religious elements, for it is not a religious service.
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IDF Education and Youth Corps Commanding General Avner Paz-Tzuk, has recently issued a letter to Manpower Directorate Commander Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolanski, recommending removing the rabbis present at the IDF recruits’ oath of allegiance ceremonies.
The letter, titled “Call for reexamination of oath of allegiance ceremonies”, stated: “The ceremony is not religious; therefore I see no reason for the key persons participating in it to be military rabbis.” Brig. Gen. Paz-Tzuk mentioned in his letter that several commanders have approached him recently complaining about the military rabbis’ role in these ceremonies, since the ceremony’s purpose is to take an oath of allegiance to the IDF and to the State of Israel.
Paz-Tzuk suggested making the following changes in the ceremony structure:
1. The unit commander will not be escorted by corps rabbis or by any other rabbi.
2. One of the recruits’ commanders will be reading a chapter from the bible, instead of the rabbi (since the bible is not exclusive to the IDF Rabbinate).
3. The corps rabbi will not be carrying a speach in the ceremony.
Paz-Tzuk explained: “There is no reason for a rabbi to be speaking in the service, when the recruits are taking an oath of alliance to the military and to the state.”
IDF Spokesperson issued a statement in response: “Over the years, the recruits’ oath of allegiance ceremony was changed many times. At this time, the IDF is reexamining the ceremony structure with the help of professionals. The IDF is probing into ways to hold the ceremony while emphasizing the authority of the commanding officer and respecting believers of different religions at the same time.”