Haredi rabbis ban dressing up as IDF soldiers during Purim

Group of 35 haredi rabbis sign letter forbidding children from dressing up as IDF soldiers. 'Stay away from this ugliness.'

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Tzvi Lev,

IDF soldier costumes for Purim
IDF soldier costumes for Purim
Gershon Elinson/Flash 90

As the Purim holiday approaches, a group of 35 leading Sephardic haredi rabbis penned a letter expressing their opposition to the popular custom of dressing up as IDF soldiers.

The rabbis wrote that dressing up as soldiers would be improper "at a time when the government is trying to seduce and intimidate the youth," into serving in the army, and alleged that the costumes would legitimize IDF service in the haredi community.

The rabbis wrote that instead of IDF soldiers, "children should be encouraged to dress up like rabbis and righteous people in order to emulate them."

"These costumes have a great influence on the souls of our children and their aspirations and we need to educate them to stay away from this ugliness," added the letter, which was signed by senior rabbis in some of the most prominent Sephardic yeshivas, including Rabbi Shalom Cohen, who heads the Shas party's Council of Torah Sages.

The letter marks the first time that senior rabbis of the Sephardic haredi stream have issued a ban on such costumes. While rabbis from the Lithuanian-haredi stream have been issuing such letters annually since 2013, the Sephardic rabbis are considered more moderate in their attitude towards IDF service.