Gafni calls on ultra-Orthodox not to enlist in IDF

"If the IDF wants to enlist haredim it must adjust itself to accommodate their beliefs," United Torah Judaism MK says.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 5, 2012 10:18
2 minute read.
MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ)

MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni on Thursday called on young haredim (ultra-Orthodox) not to enlist in the IDF if protocols are put in place requiring haredi soldiers to attend IDF ceremonies in which women sing.

Gafni said in an interview with Israel Radio that "if the IDF wants to enlist haredim it must adjust itself to accommodate their beliefs."

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Relations between the army and religious soldiers have been strained following the ruling by Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz on Monday obligating every soldier to attend all official army ceremonies, even if they include women singing, which observant soldiers object to on the basis of religious law.

Soldiers may, however, request exemptions from informal army events featuring women singing or dancing.

On Tuesday, Israel Air Force Chief Rabbi Lt.-Col. Moshe Ravad resigned from the “Shahar” program – aimed at integrating haredi men into the army while allowing them to maintain their ultra-Orthodox lifestyle – due to claims of possible changes to the terms of service that enable soldiers to maintain a strict level of observance.

In a letter, Ravad claimed that the IDF Manpower Directorate was reviewing the terms of service for the program.

“In the last draft of the new terms of service, I saw that the articles designed to preserve the piety of the soldiers had been removed, as well as the paragraph designed to provide exemptions for activities which would negatively affect their piety,” Ravad wrote.



Ravad acknowledged that the new terms of service had not been finalized, but stated he could not continue working for the program’s administration as rabbi and adviser “in the current circumstances.”

In response, IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz recommended on Wednesday that Ravad be dismissed.

Peretz said Ravad had overstepped his authority with conduct unsuitable for an officer, and called upon IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan to fire and replace him.

Jeremy Sharon and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

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