published : 2023-10-12

Israeli Military Rabbis Struggle to Efficiently Prepare, Bury Their War Dead: Report

The Military Rabbinate is DNA Testing, Photographing, and Identifying Civilians and Soldiers Killed in the War

Israeli military rabbi providing spiritual support to a soldier during a burial ceremony. (Photo taken with Nikon D850)

The rabbinate of the Israeli military is facing immense challenges as they attempt to identify and handle the deceased in the ongoing conflict, according to reports.

Home Front Command has organized all bodies to be processed through a rabbinate base near Ramle, without the direction of the Ministry of Health.

The Military Rabbinate is a corps of the Israeli Defense Force that focuses on providing spiritual assistance and religious services to soldiers.

More than 1,200 Israelis have died in the war with Hamas after a series of surprise attacks.

Soldiers have been removing the bodies of their fallen compatriots, and the situation has left the rabbinate stretched thin.

In an effort to properly identify the deceased, individual victims are photographed and DNA tested at the rabbinate base before being matched against a national database.

Members of the Military Rabbinate conducting DNA testing and photographing a fallen soldier for identification. (Photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

Family members have also been called to confirm the identities of the deceased in specific situations.

Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, have issued religious guidance for the country amid the unfolding violence.

The rabbis approved of remote prayer for the deceased due to safety concerns, suggesting that attending funerals in person may pose a threat.

According to them, it is possible to attend funerals remotely by reciting chapters of Psalms in honor of the victims.

Security forces are concerned that funerals may become a security risk, and it is advised to adhere to security guidelines and avoid unnecessary risks.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in more than 2,100 deaths on both sides, with thousands more wounded and many held hostage, raped, tortured, and murdered by Hamas.

Israeli soldiers attending a remote prayer session led by Chief Rabbis at a military base. (Photo taken with Sony Alpha A7 III)

These acts of violence have led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to compare Hamas to ISIS, emphasizing the need to treat them accordingly.

In the midst of this chaotic situation, the rabbinate is working tirelessly to ensure the proper handling of the deceased and the provision of spiritual support to the soldiers and their families.

Together, the people of Israel are called upon to assist their soldiers and residents in the affected areas while following the security forces' guidelines.

Prayers are offered for the protection of all, condolences are extended to the families who have lost loved ones, and hopes for a complete recovery are expressed for all the wounded.

Thoughts and prayers are also with the families who are still uncertain about the fate of their loved ones.