Rabbi Levinstein is the Director of a Pre-Army Academy in Eli, which is in the Occupied Territories. The goals of such Pre-Army academies is to prepare youth for their army service and make it more meaningful and beneficial, both for the youth and for the army. As such these academies are funded for a great part by the defense establishment.
The State of Israel has had draft laws for its young citizens that include women, from the beginning of the State, and the Israeli Army every year drafts many thousands of women and many of them are officers. According to an Equality Amendment to the Military Service Law, the RIGHT of women to serve in the army is equal to the right of men. This equality is not fully adhered to as far as exemptions go: women may be exempt from military service simply by declaring that she is prevented from doing so because of her religious lifestyle (or conscience) and has proven this by keeping Kashrut laws and refrain from travel on the Sabbath. Men are exempted only is the study Tora in recognized institutions (and her politics are more of a factor).
So how come that a Pre-Army Academy, which is funded by the State and is preparing youth for Army service, has such blunt and outspoken opposition to something that is a right by law? And more importantly, how is this allowed to continue?
Rabbi Levinstein in the past has come out against gays and lesbians in a most provocative way. The Israeli army recognizes the rights of lesbian and gay soldiers and in no way is discrimination in recruiting, service and promotion on the basis of sexual orientation allowed or being condoned. But the rabbi calls them perverts and claims they have lost the “normalcy” of life (whatever that is…….)
Now consider the 18-year old youngsters in this Pre-Army academy in Eli. They are preparing for their army service. This does not include learning how to shoot, learning how to fight or learning how to fly an airplane. It entails preparations of how to live under duress, how to get motivated for doing what you are doing, how to trust your comrades and make them trust you, how to obey…..
No doubt these academies are also trying hard to instill worldviews and lifestyles on these young people and the army allows this to happen, especially since there are today many such academies which promote widely different ideals and thus, the Army apparently sees this as a mix of wat is happening in civilian life in Israel.
So left-leaning academies will not be allowed to promote the refusal of military service because one does not agree with certain National policies, nor will subversive behavior be condoned.
But Eli, and its director are creating an atmosphere where women and LGBT are looked upon as abominations that have no place in the pure Israeli army and the pupils at this academy are no doubt influenced by this atmosphere. It cannot be ignored that young, malleable minds of 18-year olds, take in what their mentors say, digest it and apply it in their own daily lives. So when entering army service, this will in some way, at some time, find a way to express itself. Levinstein cannot be allowed to continue in his job (for which we pay his salary), and maybe even the Academy should be dismantled or at least be stripped of funding.
So where is the political establishment? Bennett and Lieberman are just using this event as another opportunity to swipe insults while Gila Gamliel who is supposed to be the Social Equality Minister, did find Levinstein’s remarks merely “unfortunate”!
Left wing politicians have expressed anger and disgust, but that doesn’t lead us anywhere does it? Apparently, this is just another case where nobody wants to argue in public or take action against scandalous behavior that is done under the guise of “Jewishness”.
This is how Iran took its first steps.
Apart from the politics, there is a maybe even more important aspect to this sad story: Morality.
What in fact the Rabbi is saying is to keep Jewish women “Barefoot and Pregnant”. And while it is impossible to argue with beliefs or ideology, it is clear that Rabbi Levinstein is promoting a lifestyle that may be Jewish (?!?) but is clearly not what the State of Israel stands for, at least not yet.