Morality and the IDF

In Parshat Matot (Bamidbar 31:3), we read “Moshe spoke to the people saying: ‘Hechaltzu me’itchem anashim letzava’, Arm men from among yourselves for the army that they may go against Midian…”


Rav Moshe of Koznich comments on the words ‘Hechaltzu meitchem’: There are many dangers that are connected with war: the cruelty of war, vengeance, lust for robbing and abuse. The soldier must remove himself from personally getting involved in these situations and he should remember that the reason that they went to war was because God wanted them to take revenge against the Midianites for getting B’nai Yisrael involved in idol worship and other immoral acts.


Rashi explains that the meaning of the word ‘anashim (people)’ is ‘tzadikim (righteous people)”. The soldiers to be chosen must be righteous people.


In the State of Israel today, we have many Dati-Leumi, National Religious soldiers who choose to participate in a Hesder program where they spend time learning in a Yeshiva combined with serving in the IDF. These soldiers are good people who often go on to serve in the elite units. As well, the soldiers in the IDF go through rigorous training on issues of sensitivity and morality, leading them to remove themselves as much a possible from any opportunity of abuse.Unfortunately, the media preys on the few IDF soldiers who are accused of going off track in their duty.


The armies of the countries of the world should aspire to reach the heights of our Israel Defense Forces.