Israel army to keep God out of prayer
Jerusalem - Israel's military said on Thursday it had opted to leave a reference to God out of a memorial prayer for fallen soldiers following a public debate that touched the heart of the country's secular and religious divide.
Military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who had formed a committee to examine how the Hebrew memorial prayer Yizkor would be recited at ceremonies, ruled the prayer would open with the phrase "May the nation of Israel remember" rather than "May God remember".
Ishai Bar, a reservist major general who headed the committee, said in a statement the dilemma touched "two sensitive nerves in Israeli society: on one hand grief and loss and on the other the interaction between religious and secular societies".
Military service is compulsory in Israel for Jewish men and women, who are drafted at the age of 18.
Although a majority of soldiers are not religious, a growing number of officers are devout Jews.