Protest against haredi recruits
Photo: Aaron Wahab, 24 News Agency
Over a 100 recruits from the haredi infantry regiment Netzah Yehuda were sworn in to the IDF Sunday in a ceremony held on Amunitions Hill in Jerusalem.
The usually mundane event was held against the backdrop of the recent Peri Committee's haredi draft outline, which raised concerns that haredi extremists may attempt to torpedo the ceremony.
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Expecting riots, large police and Border Guard forces were deployed near the area.
Ceremony. Amunitions Hill (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
After reading the pledge, the soldiers shouted three times "I declare," avoiding the Halacha ban on swearing.
After singing Israel's national anthem, Hatikva, the soldiers sang the religious song "I believe wholeheartedly in the coming of the messiah," which became an anthem of sorts as well.
Due to concerns that the ceremony may cause disruptions among haredim in Jerusalem, the ceremony was at first cancelled, a decision that caused a media uproar which made the IDF revisit its decision and hold the event at its traditional place.
Central Command Chief Major-General Nitzan Alon hinted to the matters surrounding the ceremony: "I'm glad the swearing-in was done in Amunition Hill – where it should be made. There is a positive atmosphere here of unity and partnership.
'A joyous day' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"I hope it will remain this way, and we'll do everything we can to that effect. This is a joyous day. Most of the families arrived in support of the soldiers. We're in prolonged talks with the haredi sector and we hope to progress."
Regarding the Peri outline, Alon said: "The IDF will do whatever the political echelon will decide."
Alongside the commanders sat rabbis from the Netzah Yehuda association who escorted the soldiers, as well as the regiment's founder Yehuda Duvdevani and Religious Services Deputy Minister Eli Ben Dahan who arrived to show their support for the fresh recruits who are under extremists' fire.
Activists from the Tov movement, which represents employed haredim, attended the ceremony and showed support as well.
Netzah Yehuda Chairman Rabbi Yoel Schwartz said that the haredi regiment today suffers little opposition in the haredi sector. "Everyone understands how important this is," he said.
He refused to be influenced by the tensions surrounding the ceremony. "The people are one. We are all brothers. We're together," he asserted.
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