Israel Defense Forces

New IDF order allows non-religious funeral for fallen soldiers

After decades in which soldiers could only be laid to rest in Orthodox religious ceremonies, the IDF now allows soldiers or their next of kin to choose whether to have a religious or secular service and whether to be buried in a military cemetery or a regular one.

The IDF has changed its orders allowing families of fallen soldiers to determine whether to have a religious or civil funeral, the NGO Hiddush said Sunday.

For decades, the military order dictated that soldiers would be laid to rest in an Orthodox religious ceremony, led by a military rabbi and in accordance with Jewish law.

Hiddush, which fights for religious freedom and equality, has been waging a long legal battle against the IDF on this issue. It petitioned the High Court of Justice against the order and even held talks on the matter with the Defense Ministry’s previous legal adviser, Ahaz Ben-Ari.

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