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Israeli Army - Kosher Food


Question:

Is it true that the Israeli army keeps kosher?



AskTheRabbi.org answered:

Israeli law mandates that all food served to the Israel Defense Forces must be kosher. As a reserve chaplain in the Israeli army, ensuring kashrut was one of my duties. One afternoon, after a combat exercise in the Golan Heights, we were resting in our tent, and, as is common in Israel, the conversation turned to religion and politics. Once soldier commented that if Israel’s security relied on our unit we really have reason to worry – everyone agreed wholeheartedly. Another soldier, a member of a secular kibbutz, replied that the only thing Israel’s security relied on absolutely was miracles. He quoted David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of the State of Israel, who said, “If you live in Israel and do not believe in miracles, you are not a realist.”

The soldier concluded that the fact that the army keeps kosher probably has more to do with its success than training exercises or anything else. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him voice this opinion and shocked to see nods of agreement from the others with equally secular background. One soldier put it this way, “Keeping kosher means that we are a Jewish army, like Joshua’s army, the Maccabees and Bar Kochba’s rebels. As long as we follow the same traditions, God will help us just as He helped them.

As these soldiers aptly demonstrated, eating kosher creates a link to Jewish tradition that goes beyond ethnic food. It is a way of life and a way of thinking that connects us to Jewish philosophy, Jewish history and the Jewish people.


 
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