Just "an informal lunch."
The office of the IDF chief of staff tried to play down the incident.
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The expulsion of a religious cadet from officer training due to his refusal to participate in a lecture by a fellow cadet who belongs to the Messianic Jews cult continues to stir outrage. The soldier's Rav, Rabbi Nesanel Elyashiv, said this week that the army's move was in effect "shooting its religious soldiers in the back."
Yad L'Achim sent an urgent letter to the defense minister this week demanding that he implement clear guidelines to ensure that such incidents of missionary preaching among soldiers be banned. The letter stressed that the victim was not just the religious soldier, but the dozens of other Jews who were forced to listen to the Christian messages during their participation in the prestigious officer-training course.
Meanwhile, Yad L'Achim recently received a response from the office of the IDF chief of staff regarding an earlier incident in which a group of soldiers were hosted by the missionary Yakov Damkani at a hotel in the center of the country and given new army boots.
In the response, the chief of staff's office stated that one of the soldiers was related to Damkani and it was for this reason that the event was allowed to take place. It referred to the event as "an informal lunch… in a social setting free of any religious or missionary influence."
Contrary to this claim, Yad L'Achim has received information that Damkani continues to be in touch with the soldiers he hosted in the hotel and even brags about it in his correspondence with fellow missionaries.
In a related event, concerned soldiers phoned Yad L'Achim on Pesach eve and reported that Damkani had entered the base of the Engineering Corp's brigade 605 and preached to officers and soldiers. One of the soldiers even agreed to allow Yad L'Achim to file a complaint in his name to the office of the IDF chief of staff on the matter.
Yad L'Achim stressed this week that due to the dramatic increase in the number of missionary events in the army it has turned to the office of the State Comptroller asking that the destructive phenomenon be brought to a halt.