Mixed gender Unit in IDF_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Chief IDF Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz, along with dozens of other IDF rabbis
met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz for talks on “clarifying
procedures” to prevent discrimination against women in the army.
is not, and will not be, any discrimination against women in the IDF. It is
incumbent upon us, who know the importance of the dignity of women, to prevent
this debate from entering our ranks,” said Peretz. Last September controversy
erupted when nine religious soldiers on the IDF officers training course left an
army event in which women were singing, due to religious objections.
refused to return to the performance when instructed to do so by their
commanding officer, and four of the cadets were subsequently expelled from the
The incident sparked criticism from many national-religious
rabbis, accusing the army of trying to force religious soldiers to act against
their beliefs. Progressive and women’s groups in turn denounced the incident as
an example of discrimination against women and the violation of equal
Peretz highlighted the guidelines of the chief of staff in
relation to events in which women sing, according to which soldiers must be
present in any official IDF ceremony, regardless of whether women will be
signing or not. In less formal ceremonies, discretion is granted to officers to
exempt soldiers wishing to absent themselves.
After the controversy broke
out, Peretz expressed support for a solution in which religious soldiers could
be exempted on religious grounds from such events.
meeting, Peretz said IDF rabbis were obligated to prevent discrimination against
women in the army as part of the broader obligation to preserve military
“The order of the day is love of one’s fellow and unity of the
ranks,” he said. “This is the most important command at the moment, as I see
On Saturday night, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
criticized recent activity by haredi (ultra- Orthodox) extremists in his weekly
“There are some haredim that are doing things that are
forbidden, that our Torah forbids us from doing and there is a need to denounce
them,” Yosef said.
“The behavior of a few are spreading hatred between
the haredi and non haredi-communities and this is a desecration of God’s name,”
Yosef continued. “We don’t hate secular people, we love them... We are all one
people, and we need to bring others close, not distance them.”