Young women to Shaked: Protest Rabbi’s campaign against female IDF service

"We are surprised and disappointed that you allow a public official to use his public status in order to work against the legitimacy of women’s service in the IDF and against female equality."

January 25, 2018 16:11
1 minute read.
Ayelet Shaked

Ayelet Shaked . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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A group of some six dozen high-school and pre-military academy students have called on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to take action against Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for his advocacy against the enlistment of women to the IDF.

Eliyahu has in recent days called for IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot to be fired for advancing processes to bring women into more combat units, and has also campaigned vigorously in recent years to stop religious women from enlisting.

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Eliyahu and other conservative national-religious rabbis oppose mixed-gender service in the IDF, on the grounds that it is inappropriate for religious reasons for young religious men to be in close proximity to young women, particularly in combat units.

In addition, they claim that religious women who enlist become less religious, a claim rejected by many religious women who have served in the IDF.

In their letter, which was sent to Shaked through the offices of the Reform Movement’s legal action center, the young women protested that Eliyahu was being allowed to work as a public servant in his role of Safed chief rabbi, while acting against state policy.

“We, high-school seniors and pre-military academy students who are preparing for substantive military service for the good of Israeli society, are surprised and disappointed that you allow a public official to use his public status in order to work against the legitimacy of women’s service in the IDF and against female equality,” the students wrote.

“We expect from the state and from you as justice minister to defend equality and the legitimacy of our service,” adding that Shaked’s refusal to take disciplinary measures against Eliyahu granted him a license to continue his campaign.

Shaked’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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