Israel Frees Pork-Eating Soldier
US-born man didn't realize sandwich would be a problem
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2015 1:38 AM CDT
Israeli soldiers take part in morning prayers at a staging area in southern Israel along the border with the Gaza Strip.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

(Newser) – The Israeli military has scrapped a punishment for a US-born Israeli soldier who had caused a stink by violating the military's kosher rules by eating a pork sandwich while in uniform. Earlier, the military said the soldier, whose name was not released, "violated rules and regulations," which required him to be disciplined. The soldier was initially given an 11-day prison sentence. The punishment was later converted to being confined to base for the same duration after relatives talked to the media and a lawmaker wrote to the defense minister about the case. But the military changed its decision yet again yesterday and canceled any punishment.

"We were wrong. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will continue to keep kosher on one hand, but will not probe a soldier's sandwich on the other," military spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz wrote on Facebook. "There are tensions in Israeli society and there are different stances and opinions. There is room for everyone in the IDF." Israel's army maintains kosher kitchens on its bases. Israel Radio says the soldier, who moved to Israel from Boston recently, was unaware of the army's strict dietary restrictions and was merely snacking on a lunch his secular grandmother had made him.