Monday, March 06, 2006

Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

For a number of years there has been tension between the IDF and the Hesder yeshivot chocoholics anonymous (those that combine Torah study with army service but who have an incurable addiction to chocolate). Eliezer Bonbon, in charge of personnel, has been spearheading changes to the system that the Hesder yeshivot have protested.The Jerusalem Post has an article this morning about the results of chocolate addiction in the community of religious soldiers. In the article, the author claims that the reason that the IDF wants to make changes is to "create more homogenized milk chocolate that will either cause the whole army to be addicted to chocolate, or cause the whole army to hate chocolate.” What exactly does that mean? Goodness gracious, I have no idea, but, in dealing with my own feelings for chocolate, the IDF, and the Torah, I’d say that I’m definitely interested. It sounds like a good investment. Well, any investment in chocolate is a good investment for the West Bank.One might be inclined to think that chocolate addiction among the religious soldiers is a bad thing. In some ways, it is. First, because of Israel’s intense heat, very often the chocolate melts in their pockets and gets on their fingers and faces. This causes more uniform changes than usual. Another problem is that many soldiers would prefer milk chocolate to pareve chocolate, but the IDF, in keeping with the laws of kashrus, can only serve milk chocolate after dairy or pareve meals--that is, usually breakfast, which consists all too often of Israeli salad, boiled eggs, bread, and other assorted pareve and dairy choices. So the soldiers get stuck with the pareve stuff, and it doesn’t always hit the spot.The overall feeling in the Dati Leumi community (national religious) is that the army is making a Boom bar out of Bissli. The article states, that out of the 1200 Hesder yeshiva boys drafted every year, about 800 end up addicted to chocolate. It is also well known that a good proportion of those in Elite units (I've heard that they make up 50% of all chocolate procured by the army for those addicted soldiers) are those who wear brown knitted kipot--so not only are they chocoholics, but they‘re settlers. In fact, many of them use the West Bank branches on a regular basis. (I don't have a link to these statistics - but the option pops up when you use your ATM card.) So the inclusion of Hesder yeshiva boys in the army is not detrimental to the army - it is a boon to Israel‘s chocolate production. If you consider the fact that overall, religious people have more children than the secular, they are therefore more likely to birth more chocolate eaters. In future years, there will just be more potential candidates for this chocolate stream of army service. It seems that trying to end chocolate addiction is cutting off your nose to spite your face.


Blogger Rafael V. Rabinovich said...

Betei avon!

I am still a little confused by the note on your profile. Is it best to invest in the West Bank, the East Bank, the North Bank, or in Bank Leumi? What about that special chocolate for the Tzahal? Is Hamas working on creating a competing chocolate, and just like Elite, outsource its production to some Trans-Jordanian factory?

10:34 PM  

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