Israeli soldiers who die in battle, are they considered martyrs for kiddush Hashem even if they are not religious?
I would say no. If they died defending the Jewish people, they are rewarded to a certain extent, no question about it. But a martyr for kiddush Hashem is something different. They can have the reward of suffering for a good cause; defending Jewish people from the attack of an enemy. But a martyr for kiddush Hashem is somebody who voluntarily chooses that role. Like Rabbi Akiva; he volunteered to teach Torah in public knowing that it meant death.
So you can’t just bandy around words; you can’t throw around titles like “kiddush Hashem,” and “martyr for kiddush Hashem.” If someone went to fight the enemy voluntarily – nobody forced him – only that his conscience told him to go out and protect the Jews from an enemy, then perhaps you could say that. But if a man is drafted into the Israeli army without any intention except to do his stint and then getting out, so you can’t call him a martyr for kiddush Hashem if he falls in battle.
TAPE # 239