LETTER TO CHIEF RABBI OF ZAHAL (The Israel Defense Forces)

21 Kislev 5757 (2/12/96)

Chief Rabbi General Gad Navon
Matcal Rabbinoot Hareisheit 672
Office of the Chief Rabbinate

RE: Restoration of the Holy Half-Shekel.

Dear Chief Rabbi Navon,

Shalom Aleichem. It is my great honor to inform you that we are restoring the sacred custom of giving a pure silver ceremonial Holy Half-Shekel on Purim, to Clal Yisrael, to coincide with the fiftieth year celebrations in 1998.

As this was and still is primarily a soldier's Commandment we are anxious to see to it that every soldier in Zahal has the chance to participate.

The ceremonial coins are to be minted by the Israel Government Coin and Medal Corporation, Ltd. and transported by Brink's to points of sale throughout Israel and abroad. We expect that the ceremonial coins will be made available for sale to the Israeli public through the Postal Authority, and work is under way to sign up some 60,000 existing Jewish institutions worldwide to serve as points of sale and collection. We are anticipating that Chabad will fill in for those areas lacking existing institutions.

Residents of Israel will be able to purchase their Half-Shekels at their local post office, thus alleviating the extra charge of VAT, and will donate the coins at their local synagogues on Purim. Brink's will collect the shofars full of coins and deliver them to the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem for further disposition.

We are informing you now of this so that provisions can be made for your budget request for the 1998 fiscal year. You will be required to provide every regular soldier with a ceremonial Holy Half-Shekel and arrange for each base to have a specially designed shofar-shaped collection box to collect the donated coins on Purim.

Brink's will deliver the ceremonial coins to your office on the first of Adar and will collect the shofars from your office on the 25th of Adar.

I am requesting that you provide me with a representative from your office to work out the logistical details. We would also like to provide you with Hasbara relating to this vital Commandment. Looking foward to your full cooperation, I am at your disposal to answer any questions that may arise.

G-d Bless,

Reuven Prager
Beged Ivri


    Mr. David Bar Ilan, Prime Minister's Office
    Mr. Moshe Klirs, IGCMC
    Mr. Michael Kahanov, Brink's

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