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Chaplains for Jewish soldiers : Bundeswehr gets military Rabbi

After approximately one hundred years, to do military Rabbi for the first time in the German armed forces service. In the selection of Jewish chaplains in the German armed forces will work closely with the Central Council of Jews, told the German defense Ministry in Berlin on Tuesday. Thus, the "growing diversity" in the ranks of the soldiers should be taken into account. Was also planned the recruitment of Muslim chaplains.

"It fills me with gratitude and also humility, of men and women to serve the Jewish faith in our armed forces" said defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU). Each soldier had the right to "undisturbed practice of religion and pastoral care". This of course, is true also for Jewish and Muslim soldiers.

some 300 Jewish and 3,000 Muslim soldiers in the Bundeswehr

The major Christian churches, military chaplains are already for decades for the German armed forces. This is provided for in a state Treaty with the churches. Such a state contract will now be completed with the Central Council of the Jews. The Central Council should, in future, propose the candidates for the military chaplaincy, the choice should ultimately make the Federal armed forces, said the Ministry of defence. The number should be in the low single-digit range.

With the introduction of the military chaplaincy by the end of the ' 50s belonged to according to the Ministry, about 98 percent of the soldiers of a Christian Church. Today it was only about half – in the Bundeswehr, there is currently an estimated 53,000 Protestants and 41,000 Catholics; the soldiers, however, are not obliged to specify their denomination.

The Ministry, the number of Jewish soldiers is estimated to be about 300, and those of the Muslim to around 3000. In the future Muslim chaplains in the Bundeswehr is active; a state contract for it according to the Ministry, but, because on the Muslim side, a Central and representative Institution lacks as a contract partner.

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The Central Council of Jews in Germany, the commitment of the Ministry of defence welcomed. "The appointment of military rabbis is a sign of the growing trust of the Jewish community in the armed forces as a part of our democratic society," said Central Council President Josef Schuster. "Jewish military chaplaincy, we want to make our contribution to the ethical training of soldiers." (AFP)

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