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Feature Stories

NEWS | June 27, 2023

USARCENT and IDF tour the U.S. Army Institute for Religious Leadership

By Sgt. Amber Cobena U.S. Army Central

FT JACKSON, S.C. - U.S. Army Central hosted Israel Defense Force religious leaders on a visit to the U.S. Army Institute for Religious Leadership in an effort to strengthen their partnership and expand the opportunities for future combined education.

This is the IDFs first visit to the USA-IRL. During this visit both USARCENT and the IDF discussed religious fellowship support and supplies to Jewish U.S. Army Soldiers overseas. Additionally, they discussed integrating IDF chaplains in the USA-IRL courses.

“We are so excited to host our fellow religious partners here at the USA-IRL for the first time,” said Col. Douglas Swift, USARCENT Command Chaplain. “We are hoping that they find what our school offers to be useful in our developing partnership. It is extremely vital we nurture religious ties as it increases our support and strengthens our force.”

Col. James Palmer, commandant of USA-IRL, expressed his gratitude to IDF religious leaders for visiting their campus. He expressed hope they will take what they learned back to their country and visit again.

“Religious support plays an essential role in both of our militaries and this in-person visit at the home of the US Army Chaplain Corps furthered our ability to partner with the IDF.” 1st Lt. Scott Klein, Israel Project Officer for USARCENT.

IDF religious leaders received a campus tour of USA-IRL by program leaders, educators and USARCENT. During the tour, the IDF received a brief on the school course offerings, discussed opportunities for collaboration on logistical supplies in IDFs region, and reviewed the history of the U.S. Army chaplain corps.

“I can’t wait till I see our rabbis go to this school and learn together with your chaplains,” said Col. Avner Cohen, Chief of Staff IDF Rabbinate “Thank you for everyone who invited us here.”

USARCENT is the U.S. Army Service Component Command for United States Central Command. In 2021, CENTCOM expanded their area of responsibility to include Israel as it is a major strategic partner for the United States. Our partnership advances key regional and global priorities, including resolving regional problems, combating extremism, and advancing peaceful religious coexistence.