Israeli Army Rabbis Preached Hate During Gaza Assault
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 9:49 AM CDT
Israeli tanks and armored vehicles prepare to cross into the Gaza Strip on a combat mission.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – During Israel’s recent Gaza offensive, an increasingly influential corps of military rabbis cast the conflict as one to “expel the non-Jews” from Israel, the Los Angeles Times reports. “This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,” one soldier said. “The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic.”

Soldiers say the all-volunteer military rabbinate is radically nationalistic, proselytizing with pamphlets and fiery rhetoric. One commander said he had to tell his men “not everyone in Gaza is Hamas.” The problem is institutional, one rabbi said, arguing that the conflict “has to be fought with a rational religious ideology that takes into account the living reality of two peoples.”