IDF female soldier, camoflage_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
chief IDF rabbi said he would prevent extremist religious behavior from
affecting the role of women in the armed forces, Army Radio reported
"The same oversight that occurred in Beit Shemesh will
not occur in the IDF," Brig.-Gen. and IDF rabbi Rafi Peretz wrote to IDF
officials, referring to the recent series of extremist religious
assaults and verbal attacks against women in the flashpoint town near
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The IDF rabbi said he would not tolerate a particular interpretation of Jewish law to impact the social environment of the IDF.
spirit of Jewish law does not allow discrimination or violation of
women in any circumstance and on any grounds," Peretz wrote. "I cannot
stand idly by in the face of such serious affronts."
Peretz's comments echo those of Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, when he reiterated his opposition to
discrimination against women.
The prime minister cited five female soldiers who graduating
from the Israel Air Force pilot's course as an example of women's
Speaking at the IAF pilot's course graduation ceremony
at the Hatzerim Air Force Base in the Negev, Netanyahu said that "in the
State of Israel, in which women sit in the cockpit, women can sit in
The prime minister's comments came amid controversy surrounding the
exclusion of women in the public sphere in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox)
community. In the most recent incident, a haredi resident of Jerusalem
was indicted for sexual harassment
on Thursday after allegedly shouting a sexual slur at a female IDF
soldier who refused to heed his request that she move to the back of a
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak also addressed the pilot's course graduates,
taking pride in the fact that five of the graduates were women.
"You strengthen and empower the whole society, well done," Barak said to
the course's female graduates. "Women are part of our society, more
than half of it, and all of us, religious and secular alike, must not
only treat them with respect, but also must understand that equality is a
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