The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has always had a certain biblical element to it. Top IDF commanders, be they religious or secular, have never shied away from invoking biblical military heroes to inspire their troops. But the IDF has also always a bastion of neutrality in a nation increasingly torn down a religious-secular divide.
That is why researchers at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv expressed surprise last week when the vast majority of Israelis said they didn’t care that a growing number of IDF commanders are from the national-religious camp.
In contrast to the ultra-Orthodox movement, religious Jews belonging to the national-religious camp all serve in the army, hold down regular jobs and see the modern State of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. They are usually characterized by knitted skullcaps, or kippas.
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