IDF to Inaugurate 1st Military Mikvah


idfThe Israel Defense Forces will inaugurate the first military mikvah in history tomorrow at the southern Air Force base in Ovda. The ceremony will be attended by the donor who transferred some $100,000 for th mikvah’s construction, as well as senior Military Rabbinate and base officers.

According to Military Rabbinate sources, the project was launched after people living on-base complained about having to travel 60 kilometers (37 miles) to Eilat every time they wish to go to a mikveh.

Those living in other bases visit mikvaos in nearby cities and communities, but the Ovda base is isolated and far from any other community with a mikvah.

Sources in the army say the new mikvah has nothing to do with religion and army issues which have sparked several rows over the past few months, claiming that the plan was initiated over a decade ago, during the term of the former military chief rabbi, Brigadier-General (Res.) Avichai Ronsky.

Last week, the Military Rabbinate decided that most IDF kitchens would become “mehadrin” (strictly kosher) in the next few years.
According to the Rabbinate’s decision, which was published in the IDF’s Bamahane newspaper, military kashrus mashgichim will take the same course the Chief Rabbinate’s supervisors undergo, which will allow them to define kitchens as “strictly kosher” as long as they are supervised on a daily basis and only include strictly kosher products.

Another issue which made headlines in recent months was the performance of women in the army, following the dismissal of religious cadets from an officers’ course after they walked out of a military ceremony as a female soldier began singing.

Religious soldiers will likely be forced to attend official ceremonies even if they include women performers, but their presence in unofficial unit events will be subject to their commander’s discretion. Major-General Orna Barbivai, head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, addressed the issue in the Knesset last week, saying that “women should sing on any stage and in any every ceremony.” She stressed that “the commander is the one who determines his unit’s reality and uses discretion in cases of specific sensitivity.”

{Yair Israel}


  1. Chaim – what do you mean “their” army? Are you not Jewish? Are you and your loved ones not protected? This is a huge step in the right direction, I would imagine you’d show hakaras hatov. Please explain

  2. hakaras hatov? Don’t forget the the leading people who established the new state were highly educated jews who went to yeshivas in europe. they new exactly what they were doing when they established a jewish state to be more secular than religious. I believe the hakares hatov should be give to the rabbis who are working tirelessly to bring judaism BACK TO THE JEWS and to the army.

  3. Response to #2:

    I was waiting for a retort of such. It is reported that at Ben Gurion’s secret meeting with the Chazon Ish he raised this issue at some point. The Chazon Ish responded with a moshul:

    “A man fell into a pit and was injured. Someone whosaw him came running to his aid, pulling him out, and treating his wounds. The man exclaimed, ‘How can I thank you for your kindness – and you don’t even know me?!’ The host replied somewhat abashadly, ‘Don’t thank me too much – I was the man who dug the pit in the first place!”

    Ben Gurion understood all too well the comparison… If you will look in Parshas Lech Lecha (16:7-8) see how inextricably linked our control over Eretz Yisrael is to our being a holy nation. Guns, bombs, ammunition, and even nuclear power don’t change this. In fact – the outrage of armed and trained Jewish soldiers being politically forced to evict their own brothers from their homes in Eretz Yisrael has turned a sizeable amount of nationalistic Jews against “the army of defense of Israel” as well.

    We continue to daven for their wellbeing considering the perils that these soldiers must undertake for our sake – [proper] Satmar chassidim as well will not deny them as such. However, no responsible committed Jew will recklessly volunteer to enter on his own a place of spiritual danger to our sanctity as Jews.

    Hashem should send us the geulah soon.,


  4. Chaim, you and i may disagree hashkafically, but its offensive and wrong to say that “no responsible committed jew…”

    you’re neglecting and insulting thousands of Bochrim who devote 5 years of their lives to both learn in hesder yeshivas and serve in the army. These Bochrim are learning the very same Gemara with the very same meforshim as they do in the Mir, bmg or any other “charedi” yeshiva. (I put quotations bc I don’t like categorizing Torah observant Jews) In fact, these Bochrim are known to be the best soldiers that the idf has today because they are fighting for the land to which they have a spiritual connection.

    Gush Katif was a tragedy but it’s still our land, still our army and still our job to do our best to make it as tahor as possible (Mikva pun). if these hesder guys don’t serve, the army will be left completely secular.

    I urge you to have a look at the beginning of parshas vayishlach (32:8-13) yaakov makes military arrangements AND davens to Hashem. It is imperative that we have both

    Hashem should indeed send us the Geulah soon