The Military Rabbinate was forced to cancel the participation of several cadets in a training course for military rabbis that opened at the IDF's officers training base on Sunday, after the base's commander refused to accept to the course people who had not completed full military service.
This decision effectively disqualifies almost all ultra-Orthodox candidates from becoming army rabbis, most of whom postpone their enlistment in order to study Torah and end up doing minimal service.
In the past many haredim were appointed military rabbis and served as officers although they did not do a three-year army service. Until several years ago they constituted the majority of military rabbis.
The Military Rabbinate, which has been busy preparing the course and recruiting cadets in recent months, tried to reverse the decision but failed.
M., who was scheduled to start the course Sunday was told to stay at home, told Ynet: "It is absurd that candidates who studied more Torah and therefore did a shorter army service cannot serve as rabbis in the IDF, although they seem to be the most fitting and deserving candidates, while those who preferred other programs to studying in a yeshiva are admitted to the course."
This is not the first time the Military Rabbinate and the officers training base are at loggerheads over the rabbis' course. About a month ago, the base commander disqualified the course's original curriculum and ordered the Rabbinate to include more military content and less religious studies in the course.