US-born soldier tried for eating pork
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US-born soldier tried for eating pork

IDF reduces 11-day sentence to denial of weekend furlough, then cancels all punishment; lone soldier says he was unaware of the army’s kashrut laws

Illustrative photo: IDF reserve soldiers seen eating in a staging area near the border with Gaza in Southern Israel on July 20, 2014, during Israel's Operation Protective Edge. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative photo: IDF reserve soldiers seen eating in a staging area near the border with Gaza in Southern Israel on July 20, 2014, during Israel's Operation Protective Edge. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

An IDF soldier and recent immigrant from the United States was recently sentenced to 11 days in a military jail for eating a pork sandwich during military training.

His sentence was reduced to a revocation of his weekend furlough after a military reporter contacted the IDF Spokesperson’s Office to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident, Israel Radio on Monday.

On Tuesday, the IDF cancelled all punishment of the soldier, and apologized for its mishandling of the matter.

The soldier was given the sandwiches by his grandmother, who he lives with on a kibbutz. He reportedly also offered some of them to his friends.

When his battalion commander learned that the sandwiches were not kosher, he was called in for a disciplinary hearing, promptly tried and sentenced to jail.

The soldier, a recent immigrant from Boston, told his superiors that he was not aware of the military’s kashrut laws.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office called the soldier’s actions “unbecoming to what is expected from a cadet in a commanders’ course, which is why he was tried severely.”

“Nevertheless, after reexamining the matter, his punishment was changed,” the spokesperson added.

Most of the 3,000 lone soldiers serving in the IDF are new immigrants to Israel and have no immediate family in the country.

The Torah forbids Jews from consuming pork, among a detailed set of dietary laws. The IDF maintains kosher kitchens.

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