Photo Credit: Abir Sultan / Flash 90
Soldiers of the Neztah Yehuda Battalion complete the final stages of a 40-kilometer journey, Feb. 2010.

Haredi-religious soldiers gathered at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate the induction ceremony of new hareidi IDF soldiers who were joining the Netzach Yehudah Battalion, also known as Nachal Chareidi.

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The induction ceremony was preceded by a collective Siyum Masechta by the new soldiers.

The event was attended by Company Commander Captain David Teier and Regiment Commander of the Brigade Training Center, Lieutenant Colonel Uri Levy. Teier is an alumnus of Yeshivat Maor HaTorah, where he learned prior to his recruitment.

“It’s important to know how to integrate the safety of the Jewish nation and her spirituality,” Teier said as he addressed the new recruits. “This is the essence of our Brigade, and this is why, today, right before the induction, it is so significant that you are completing a Masechta.”

The induction ceremony took place immediately after the Siyum. Instead of the traditional, “Ani nishba—I swear,” the new recruits shouted, “Ani matzhir—I affirm.” The ceremony concluded with a spirited rendition of the song “Ani ma’amin b’viat haMashiach.”

Nahal Haredi Foundation Rabbi David Fuchs, who escorts the soldiers throughout the duration of their army service, also addressed the soldiers, telling them, “Today we have the merit of sanctifying the Name of heaven.”

Nahal Haredi was created in 1999 by a group of rabbis in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces and the Ministry of Defense as a venue for young men who wish to serve the national interests of while adhering to the highest religious standards. From a small unit of 30 soldiers, Nahal Haredi has become an IDF battalion of close to 1,000.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.