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Watering Down the IDF Oath

Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan has put on hold the usual Meretz\Shinui proposals to toss all the Jewish babies in the sea with a proposal to once again alter the IDF oath to reflect that soldiers must obey the orders "only" of their authorized commanders. Has a right wing MK proposed such a thing, the usual press and academics would be barking "fascism" like mad dogs and claiming that the government is turning Israeli soldiers into fascists, but of course fascism is never fascism when it's on the left.

The "only" is meant to be the word that orders soldiers not to listen to their conscience or their Rabbis but only the politically appointed commanders planted on top of the IDF by the Sharon/Olmert government.

By Oslo, the Rabin/Peres government had already appointed Professor Assa Kasher to water down and outright destroy the IDF code by eliminating any mention of land, Jewish people and Torah and focusing only on the government. The result was to focus on the military not as a means of protecting a land and a nation and a people but to execute the decisions of the government.

Professor Assa Kasher was a leading academic and a leading left winger who opposed the Law of Return for Jews to Israel, supported the return of Arabs and a separate Arab state in the Galilee. Professor Asa Kasher had worked with Yesh Gevul, an organization that encouraged left leaning IDF soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories.

When given the chance to formulate an IDF code, Professor Asa Kasher worked to strip any Jewish references, both cultural and religious from it. There is no Zionism in it. No commitment to the Jewish people. Its Jewish content has been sterilized and cleansed.

The gap can easily be seen with the Haganah oath
I hereby swear to devote all of my strength, and even to sacrifice my life, to defense and war for the sake of my people and my homeland, for the freedom of Israel and the redemption of Zion.
to the IDF oath

I swear and obligate myself on my word of honor to remain loyal to the
State of Israel, its laws and its legitimate administration ... and to devote
all of my strength, and even to sacrifice my life, in the defense of the
homeland and the freedom of Israel.

Now MK Vilan (one I and L away from his true name) wants to sterilize this even further.

Vilan also recommends removing the declaration that soldiers will sacrifice their lives during their military service. He said that the words "sacrifice my life" should be replaced with "give my entire self."

Vilan said that Joseph Trumpeldor's dying words, "It is good to die for our country," were no longer relevant for today's youth.

"No one goes to serve in the IDF to sacrifice his life and to die," Vilan explained. "Soldiers do all they can to protect the state, and sometimes they to pay with their life, but this is not the goal they start their military service with."

No one's goal of course is to join the army to die. No one but Arab terrorists. But the import of a commitment to sacrifice one's life if need be is the fundamental understanding of the nature of service, which is to put one's one life at risk. To proclaim that Trumpledor is no longer relevant is the typical mantra of the post-zionist left which reveals their true face rather aptly.

Azure Magazine has an excellent article laying this all out in depth, of which this best demonstrates how we got here,

The committee of four refused to accept any alternative principle which implied loyalty to the Zionist idea—or even to include the word “Zionism” in the code’s preface or main body—claiming that there is no consensus definition of the term, and no reason or need to include this concept in the code. There were also those who doubted whether Zionism is a doctrine that is acceptable to the majority of soldiers.
Moreover, the prospect that IDF troops would be asked to be loyal to the State of Israel as a Jewish state (or a “Jewish and democratic” state) was categorically rejected. The authors claimed that it is impossible to ask the non-Jewish soldiers serving in the IDF to be obligated to Jewish-national values, and even more so to religious values. Because the intent was to formulate a code that would be suitable—without exceptions—to all IDF troops, they maintained that there is no place in the code for even the slightest Jewish-national content.
And thus we now have a government that attempts to use the IDF in a campaign against Jewish and Zionist values and that works to mandate that soldiers not rely on Jewish and Zionist values to inform their moral reasoning.


  1. Very disturbing changes in the IDF Oath.

    Reading through the lines the word "state" keeps repeating itself, not prefaced by Jewish. Somehow all of this state, state, state talk reminds me of the former atheistic Soviet Union. Loyalty to the state, not a religious state, not a Jewish state.

    Israel is going down a scary road.

    Israeli soldiers can and will give their lives for a Jewish state, for Zion, for the holy land that G-d gave them. But how many would be willing to fight and die for an atheistic government and non-religious rulers? A government that is in essence killing their own people? Very few. Hence the changes in the oaths.

  2. Anonymous20/8/07

    Let us be reasonable, should a non-Jews swear to uphold a Jewish entity? Forget about the issue of trust. What about the Russians that are likely not Jewish nor interested. Of course, one can and should see how other countries deal with the issue. What oath is given in England and France? Perhaps there can be two oaths offered. One for Zionists and another for everyone else. However, it is not the one minute oath that matters as much as the direction of the oath. And, even more important is the ongoing education the people are given. This, as you point out, in no way lessens the deep seated effort of the Left to destroy the Jewish State from within. I am wondering what happens to the fellow who refuses to take am oath that is in opposition to their beliefs? Is he jailed, called a draft dodger; or what? What about people who sign up for national service instead of the Army. Do they take am oath?

  3. if those non-jews want to live in the country and serve in the IDF... yes they should

    if the military can't uphold the ideals of the nation, the nation is in serious trouble

    if israel's ideals cease to be jewish and zionist, it becomes just another middle eastern country ripe for destruction

    but that begs the question of why we have all these russians in the first place

  4. "Perhaps there can be two oaths offered. One for Zionists and another for everyone else."

    That's like suggesting one oath in the US military for people who support America and another for everyone else

  5. No Problem, the "out"phrase is "legitimate government".
    Israel does not have a legitmate government and will not for a long while yet.
    Jesuits call it "mental reservation".. doing something you know you have a totally different meaning for in your heart.
    Bad example , muwahaha.

  6. "Perhaps there can be two oaths offered. One for Zionists and another for everyone else."

    A house divided against itself can't stand. It is doomed to fall in division.

  7. Anonymous20/8/07

    I certainly hear your logic; however, I purposely did not use America as my example. Since Jefferson the American way has been to separate Religion and State. So the American oath is by nature not so strict. What I would like to know is what does a Jew or Muslim say when joining the British or France Armies.

    Reminds me of a kosher story. A nice Jewish boy was to be knighted. As he was standing in the reception line he noticed that the Queen would say something in Latin and the men would respond in Latin. Since he did not speak Latin he decided to say one of those Hebrew lines that most Jews remember from their youth. He said the first line from the four questions said on Passover. The Queen was shocked, since she did not recognize what he had said. She turned to one of the Generals and said, "Why is this knight different from all the other Knights?"

    Most American Medicals Schools take the Hippocratic oath at graduation. However, Einstein (YU) takes Maimonides Blessing. In court one can use the word "swear" or "affirm" when giving testimony.

    If there is a question about the oath then lets get some suggestions and see how this is handled. You cannot expect a Christian to take a vow to the "G-d of Israel." There must be a way to strengthen Jewish pride without stepping on other peoples feelings.

    The real concern is the fear that this is just one more attempt by the Left to separate the Jewish People from their ancestral land. Let us remember that the oath doesn't make the soldier, it is the man/woman that makes the soldier. Instilling pride is what is important.

  8. Anonymous20/8/07

    I just read that the Arabs are upset that some people have suggested that if Islamic inspired terrorists use WMD against western sites that the attacked country should blow up an Arab Holy site. Isn't that what we did with Russia? It was called: mutual assured destruction or MAD. We should make a list of value-sites and take them out one at a time. We should say to Muslim moderates (if they exist) that they need to start policing their own if they want to secure their own valuables.

  9. this is not about an oath asking non-jews to affirm the G-d of Israel

    this is about the oath affirming the identity and nature of the state that the military is defending

    if you can't even have the army exist as a jewish and zionist institution, then how can you have a jewish and zionist state?

  10. Anonymous20/8/07

    Sorry. I reread my comments to see where I went wrong. I think we are saying much the same thing.

    From your original article I suspect that even the current oath is not very good.

    Perhaps people can offer some specific suggestions of a meaningful oath.

  11. To previous poster--should a non-Jewish person take an oath to support a Jewish state? Absolutely, since the founding fathers were Jewish and the nation was founded on Jewish principles and faith.

    I understand that Druze also serve in the IDF. Don't they also take an oath, identical to their fellow Jewish soldiers?

    The US was for the most part founded by Christians. Does that mean Jewish or any other religious person in the US military shouldn't take an oath to protect the country from all enemies foreign and domestic?

    The way I see it, people trying to alter the oath are either trying to turn Israel into a melting pot or obliterate every aspect of its Jewish heritage and replace it with...Islam.

    The melting pot has worked in the US because the underlying foundation of the country has remained strong. Civil and human rights for all, with the clear recognition of its heritage and foundation.

    Can Israel become a melting pot? I don't think so. There are too many people that want to destroy its Jewish heritage and foundations. The country would be overrun with Muslims who want to take over the country inch by inch.

  12. Anonymous20/8/07

    Reading the various comments I realize that the issue is not simply a question of an oath. The real issue is the intent behind the people who want to change the oath. The intent seems to be to turn Israel into a non-sectarian State where Jews will become the minority. This can occur in many ways. The Arab Right of Return seems to be the most immediate way. The only way to combat this is strong Jewish education. While I see issues with the so-called religious parties; nevertheless, they are the only ones working to teach the next generation Jewish values, within the so-called Green line. The future , if there is a future, will be from the settlers movement and the children taught in the religious schools. That is why I think that the current technocrats want to destroy the religious school system. The question becomes a race. Who will get to the finish line first. Will the current leadership destroy the Jewish State or will a new, more Jewish People rise up and replace the Left wing government? Logically I would say that the Left will likely destroy the nation before a serious challenge for Jewish leadership occurs. But, isn't that consistent with the prophecies? I once heard from someone that a great Rav said that the leaders, including the religious ones, will be worthless; that Moshiach will only come through ordinary people.

  13. "Most American Medicals Schools take the Hippocratic oath at graduation. "
    That oath has changed over the years. At one point it forbade abortions.

    Remember secular dibs like the professor don'rt want a Jewish state . They want a secular "Israeli"state.
    I suppose that if the Spanish Jews on my wifes side that left spain for Turkey, had looked into the futre and saw "israelism" they probably would have stayed in spain and helped rule as the catholic elite.

  14. Anonymous20/8/07

    Daniels point that, "Most American Medicals Schools take the Hippocratic oath at graduation. " That oath has changed over the years. At one point it forbade abortions.

    Its true, but my point was that an American School, Einsten, used Maimonides Blessing. So there's more then one way to become a Doctor.

    However, a wonderful point that Daniel makes is the Liberal Left wish is to take G-d out of morals and basic laws. As Daniel continues to say, "Remember secular dibs like the professor don't want a Jewish state . They want a secular 'Israeli' state."

    This is why education is the key to change.

  15. Israel cannot become a melting pot ever.
    Israel must never mix with the nations in any fashion.
    Even converts have no stake in the land of Israel.
    It is for physical Israelites only!
    There is no argument as to whether it could be a melting pot.
    Don't any of you people believe Torah at all?

  16. Anonymous21/8/07

    "Even converts have no stake in the land of Israel."

    The Torah states (Parsha Eikev 10:19) G-d's love for the convert is especially great because he voluntarily accepted upon himself/herself the yoke of the commandments -- chooses to become Jewish. Now you're saying converts have no "stake" in the land of Israel? That's funny, I don't remember my rabbi telling me that when I met the OU/RCA Beit Din.

    Abraham, Ruth, Jethro were converts. What, they have NO STAKE IN ISRAEL EITHER? Or is it just "certain" converts?

    Lemon Lime, what I'd like to say to you I can't say out loud. As an Orthodox convert I've never heard anything so ... high handed, self righteous from an observant Jew. And to top it off you arrogantly ask: "Don't any of you people believe Torah at all?"


    ... Our sages teach that “life and death are in the tongue." Therefore, nature has provided us with two gates to safeguard the tongue -- our lips and our teeth. Before we speak, we must close those gates and consider carefully whether that which we say will be helpful or damaging. Let us remember that what we do not say, we can always say later, but that which escapes our lips, we cannot retrieve...



  17. My comment was meant to argue with the idea that Israel can be a melting pot of a mixture of nations. It cannot. It is made for Israel alone. You must be part of Israel.
    It had nothing to do with tearing down converts unless you wish to somehow interpret it that way .

    Let me clarify since it seems unclear: converts do not have a tribal affliation so they do not have a tribal plot of land assigned to them in Israel.. *stake* meaning plot of land from tribal inheritance.
    And the "don't you know torah" at all was meant for one who thought Israel could be a multi-religious land.

    Ok now go ahead crucify the kid who didnt say one bad word about converts and counts one who comments here as a dear online friend indeed whose "stake" in Israel might not be land inherited through tribe, but whose heart is more Jewish than 10,000 born that way.

  18. No worries, Lemon :) I know what you meant. I only brought up the idea, the danger, of Israel becoming a melting pot only to say that it can't and shouldn't happen.

    It would be an utter disaster. That's what I was trying to say. Israel can't become a mini-America in the Middle East. Largely, because it would be infiltrated with Muslims and Christians who would defile the land with idolatry, and seek to destroy the Jewish people--physically through terrorism and spiritually through conversions and assimilation.

    Neither would be satisfied alone with a democracy in which they would have civil rights and the free exercise of religion. They would adopt a "live and let live" approach when it comes to Judaism. It would either be an entirely Christian nation or Islamic state.

    And with politicians pushing for a right of return for Muslim the later is more probable.

    I have taken very seriously what I've been learning from reading the book of Kings, idolatry, and the dangers of adopting the ways of the nations. Very seriously.

  19. both converts and the tribe of levi have no physical stake in Israel because Hashem in their inheritance

    there's a difference though between legitimate converts today and large numbers of people imported into israel who are not legitimate converts seeking G-d but just people looking to live in a western country and make some money

    and in doing so israel is being destroyed, which is what lemon meant

  20. Anonymous21/8/07

    In my opinion no one should be immigrating to Israel who doesn't support Israel as a Jewish state, and no one should be in the IDF who isn't willing to fight and die to defend it. Anyone who doesn't want to live in a Jewish state has every other country on earth to choose from. And it seems to me most of Israel's 'leaders' should seriously consider moving to one of those other countries since they find living in a Jewish one so undesirable.

  21. Anonymous22/8/07

    As I read my bible,
    Jethro did not stay with Israel but went back where he come from.
    After all the fellow had flocks and farm to attend and there would be no place for him in the promised land.
    Women seemed to blend in ok I got to suppose since the husband got them a tribal place through the children so they had no problem.
    I don't see that there's a problem with that. God knows what he's doing folks.

  22. Anonymous23/8/07

    "Israel going down a scary road"
    yes it is and things spiralling bad now.


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