Two yeshiva students who were discharged from service in the hesder program (combining advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the IDF), turned to the army, religious Knesset members and brochure editorial boards, with a request to allow them to disperse brochures to various military synagogues.
The two, Asaf Danoch and Sarel Shfeir turned to the directors of Makor Rishon (conservative Israeli daily), which is also responsible for dispersing brochures throughout Israel, and asked them to check this possibility.
“As you know, the Maariv, Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz newspapers are distributed free of charge to soldiers on various IDF bases,” they wrote in their plea.
“As people who served and are serving in the IDF, who read the distributed newspapers for lack of any other choice, we personally feel the great need to introduce diverse media into the IDF.”
According to them, “a large percentage of those serving in various units and bases are religious boys who are not interested in being exposed to the harmful contents found in these newspapers.”
The two have demanded the dispersion of religious newspapers and brochures.
MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP)
is convinced and he intends on turning to Defense Minister Ehud Barak
on the issue.
In a conversation with Ynet, Orlev said, “Whoever is familiar with the Shabbat brochures knows that they entail biblical law, but content-wise, visually and especially regarding coverage, they are by all means like all other media.
“Thus, the IDF, which provides soldiers with newspapers on a daily basis, should work towards dispersing the newspapers to the army synagogues; especially since it is entirely expense-free,” he said.
Moreover, Orlev emphasized that he adamantly opposes the penetration of political material to IDF bases and has called for the prevention of the distribution of brochures with a political message.
A student at the Beit Orot yeshiva, Sarel Shfeir told Ynet, “the last active combat duty I did was in the Gaza Strip. This was a very grinding period and I wanted something that will give me a homey feeling.
“There is no reason why a soldier should be forced to read newspapers that are not to his liking just to stay up to date.
If secular newspapers are provided every morning, we need to have this minimal request and be permitted to have similar, suitable conditions,” he said.
What about political messages and even calls for dissention which appear in some of the publications?
“There are completely non-political brochures and I have no problem if only those are dispersed,” said Shfeir.
“But if we are already talking, Haaretz’s political tendencies…which I saw circulating in the Central Command, are no less problematic,” he said.