Aryeh Avner, Chairman of the Ometz (Citizens for Proper Administration and Social and Judicial Justice) movement has complained to Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud barak that “According to information reaching the Ometz movement, there has been an increase in the phenomenon where IDF soldiers are forced to listen to talks by rabbis on religious matters.”
Avner writes that “the group of lecturers in the military also includes all kinds of ‘ba’aley t’shuva’ who share their experiences and essentially their talks can be considered ‘brainwashing.’”
Avner cites one case in which the chaplain of an IAF base dressed up in haredi garb and blew a shofar near the base checkpoint.
Avner would like to see as many lectures about philosophy, geography, history, medicine and communications as there are about religion in IDF bases.
The IDF Spokesperson’s office told the Jewish Press that they were not familiar with Avner’s allegation. “However, the IDF has a unique branch- the Education Corps, whose sole purpose is to lead the education and enrichment of soldiers, including providing different activities and lectures on domains such as democracy, values, leadership and culture.”