The military rabbinate launched a competition this week to determine which Israeli Navy vessel will win the title of the most kosher ship on the seas.
The IDF rabbinate introduced the competition as a way to give the soldiers, who are required to maintain Jewish dietary laws for themselves — as opposed to having rabbinate personnel do it for them — when at sea, incentive to keep kosher.
The number of kosher violations will be counted up, and the ship with the fewest infractions will win the prize, an outing including of a tour of a heritage site, a talk with a rabbi, a concert and a barbecue.
The rabbinate has apparently been at wits’ ends about how to ensure that the kitchens on the ships are really kept kosher, which is a requirement of all military facilities, and apparently decided that a friendly competition was the right way to raise awareness of the kosher laws.
Ynet News quoted a military source as saying: “Kashrut problems are very common… making religious soldiers serving on board the ships uncomfortable, since they are forced to make do with dry goods that don’t need to be cooked until the ship docks again and the galley can be made kosher. It damages the cohesiveness of the unit.”