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Prayer for IDF Druze allowed

    Orthodox rabbis have been told that there is no problem with including the name of a Druze serviceman among prayers for Israel's missing soldiers.

    Rabbi Julian Shindler, director of rabbinic liaison in the Office of the Chief Rabbi, emailed rabbis to say that they can mention Majdy Halabi, who disappeared five years ago.

    Private Halabi's case had been taken up by Gideon Barth, from the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue in Leeds, who was troubled at the omission of his name from the prayer for missing soldiers.

    The Druze villager is one of seven soldiers officially listed as missing by the Israeli government.

    Mr Barth explained that he had contacted the Chief Rabbi's Office to ask if there were any halachic problem in mentioning Private Halabi. "We should include all missing IDF soldiers, whether they are Jewish or not."

    But Rabbi Shindler said that until Mr Barth got in touch, he had been unaware of Private Halabi's case.

    The seven MiAs are: Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, missing since 1982; Ron Arad, captured in 1986; Guy Hever kidnapped in 1997; Majdy Halabi, missing since 2005; and Sergeant Gilad Shalit, held captive by Hamas in Gaza since June 2006.

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