Outgoing Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier-General Avichai Ronsky believes there is "room for return to the religion in the army".
Following a particularly stormy term, during which he was criticized for his activity to instill "Jewish awareness" among the soldiers, the rabbi admits that it was the first stage in encouraging them to become newly religious.
In an interview to the "Rosh Yehudi" Teshuva moment, Ronsky – a former secular himself – said he believed this was a legitimate act which had a place in the Israel Defense Forces.
He admitted, however, that it was "an issue" and that therefore he believes "it should not be called aggressive names" – in other words, names threatening the secular public.
"Rav Kook talks about respect and fondness, recognition and implementation of religion," he explained. "The stages he describes are very true and accurate.
According to Rabbi Ronsky, the first mission is to instill respect and fondness for Judaism.
"It's important to get people to like the values of Judaism, and when Judaism is presented in a pleasant way according to the standards of people today, in accordance with them and in a comprehensive language – it's the right thing to do. This is what Jewish awareness is about."
The chief military rabbi added that his activity turned out well. "The greatest feedback for the activity in this area is the demand for more material on Jewish awareness on the part of commanders. It proves that they are happy about it and interested in it. Naturally, it should all be done at the right dosage."