'Religious extremism is a greater threat than nuclear Iran'

Former head of Mossad Efraim Halevy condemns new trend in the IDF; "Israel's true existential danger comes from within."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 4, 2011 12:22
1 minute read.
Former Mossad head Efraim Halevy.

Efraim Halevy 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Former head of the Mossad Efraim Halevy condemned religious extremism in the IDF on Thursday night, warning that "Israel's true existential danger comes from within."

According to Halevy, religious extremism is a growing peril to Israel's existence and is more threatening than Iran's nuclear program.

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"When I was in Bnei Akiva, there were boys and girls [mixed]. Were we not religious? Were the rabbis then not religious? What happened to us?" he asked, speaking at a military academy meeting commemorating 130 fallen soldiers.

"Thousands of children are born to parents who immigrated to the state and were told that they are Jews, and here the religious authorities decided that they aren't Jews. A generation grew up here without personal status," he said.

Last month, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger said in a religious ruling that the IDF must ensure that religious soldiers are not forced to listen to performances by female singers.

The statement came after an incident in which nine officer cadets left an army event involving a performance by female soldiers, and some subsequently refused to return after their unit commander ordered them to do so. Four of the soldiers were expelled from the Officers Training School – better known as Bahd 1 – after refusing to apologize for the incident.

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