Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, has denied that he has called on anyone not to attend the city’s Remembrance Day service this Monday.
Eliyahu and other leading religious figures in the city are opposed to the inclusion in the ceremony of any performances in which women sing or dance, due to stipulations in Jewish law prohibiting men from attending such productions.
News website Ynet reported that a member of the Safed City Council, Gadi Malka, said Eliyahu had asked him not to attend, while Rabbi Dov Kaplan, who heads another political faction in the municipal council, said he also received a similar request.
Kaplan said that council members from his party would not be going, citing their opposition on religious grounds to the inclusion of women singing and dancing in the ceremonies.
A spokesman for Eliyahu said that the rabbi and the city’s mayor were holding discussions as to how resolve the problem.
“For many years there was a joint memorial service for the entire community together, a ceremony that was fitting for everyone.
There are at the moment discussions with the municipal council, the community center, and youth groups to continue the joint tradition. We must remember that in war everyone fights together. A memorial service also needs to be united,” the spokesman said.