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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Orthodox Jews From Diaspora Joining IDF

(Image: IDF members of a Nahal Haredi unit in prayer. Credit: IDF, via

Outside of Israel, Orthodox Jews are often viewed as what the average Israeli citizens looks like (a common misconception that frustrates some of my Jewish friends).

Ironically, although all Israeli's are required to enlist in the military service, Orthodox Jews (to my knowledge) are exempt for spiritual reasons. Now it seems as if one Israeli from the Diaspora is trying to change all of this by encouraging spiritual Jews to enlist.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) Taylor, 20, is a volunteer from Los Angeles serving in an infantry battalion of Torah-observant and predominantly fervently Orthodox soldiers. His unit, Nahal Haredi, plans to launch an advertising campaign this summer in major Jewish newspapers in the United States and Britain seeking more foreign recruits.

Taylor is among the more than 14,000 American Jews from across the religious spectrum serving in the Jewish state's military. According to Israeli government statistics, 4,419 are on active duty and 9,831 are in the reserves.

"I love the fact that I can fully live out my Jewish values while at the same time protecting Israel," Taylor says.

This is a good sign, and hopefully Taylor's campaign will encourage not only more Jews from the Diaspora to join the IDF, but Orthodox Jews living within Israel to enlist as well.

Currently the military unit is composed of men only (as to my knowledge Orthodox men do not enjoy their women getting shot at). Composure aside, units like these seem to be highly motivated, with many of them committing Aliyah.

You can find out more info regarding these Orthodox units at

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