The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) want a few good men like Zach Taylor (photo). Actually, the IDF wants a lot of them. Taylor is a 20-year-old volunteer from North Hollywood serving in an Israeli infantry battalion of Torah-observant and predominantly ultra-Orthodox soldiers.
In Israel, where service in the armed forces is every man's -- and most women's -- duty, the majority of Israelis, from secular to Modern Orthodox, have long scorned the ultra-Orthodox "black hats" for avoiding military service by studying in yeshivas. Now, a battalion of ultra-religious young men, known as Nahal Haredi, is seeking to change this image by combining Torah study with the bearing of arms.