New rabbi to provide religious services to Shin Bet, Mossad agents

Rabbi A. will help guide employees of Israel’s security agencies on matters of Jewish law.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s top security agencies, the Shin Bet and Mossad, confirmed on Sunday that they had approved the appointment of a new rabbi, who will be available to agents for questions around Jewish matters.

Israeli media reported that the rabbi, who is identified only by his first initial A for security reasons, comes from a National-Religious background and once served as the chief rabbi of a municipality in Israel, as well as the head of a number of yeshivas.

The exact nature of his work and his identity are closely guarded secrets, but because he will be dealing with matters related to national security and other life-or-death circumstances, the rabbi will be available to agents on Shabbat and holidays.

He will likely provide answers regarding Halachic issues which agents could potentially face during their work.

While the names and identities of previous rabbis have not been revealed, Israel’s security agencies said that Rabbi A will not be the first spiritual advisor to serve the Mossad and Shin Bet.

The exact number of religiously observant Israelis who work in the Jewish State’s security agencies is unclear, but the presence of a rabbi who can grant them exemptions in order to permit life-or-death activity (pikuach nefesh) on Jewish rest days is critical.

“There are lots of religious people in the Mossad, and in recent years their numbers have grown,” a source told Hebrew language daily Ma’ariv in 2014.

“The issue is not just matters of kashrut [kosher food.] Sometimes, when you’re far from [Israel], questions arise about what’s permissible and what’s forbidden or questions on operational activities which require a Halachic response.”

On Sunday, Hebrew language media reported that a yeshiva student turned undercover Shin Bet agent was exposed in the Yitzhar settlement in Judea and Samaria.

The student was reportedly forced to become an informant about extremist activities taking place in the outpost after “intense psychological pressure” from the security agency.