Half of IDF officers are religious

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

At least 50 percent of young Israeli army officers today are conservative religious Jews, according to a report in Israel's Ma'ariv daily newspaper.

Religious, thought not not necessarily Orthodox, Jews are a minority in Israel, but because of their strong Zionist upbringing are “becoming the backbone of the [Israel Defense Forces],” the newspaper noted.

Religious soldiers have long been praised within Israel as the most dedicated and courageous combatants in the army.

However, there is also a growing fear that the Bible-based beliefs of such soldiers regarding Israel's right to the land could result in mutiny if the secular government orders a mass evacuation of Jews from Judea and Samaria as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians. Earlier this month, a group of religious soldiers refused to participate in the removal of Jewish settlers from Jewish owned property in the Judean town of Hebron.

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