IDF: Religious soldiers cannot leave ceremonies

Gantz rules: No exceptions in official ceremonies, but soldiers can be excused from unit parties where female soldiers singing.

Female IDF soldiers at western wall (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Female IDF soldiers at western wall
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Religious soldiers will not be allowed to leave official IDF ceremonies during performances by female singers, Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz ruled on Monday.
Gantz did decide, however, that soldiers could ask their commanders and receive exemptions from having to attend performances by female singers during private unit parties.RELATED:Gantz: IDF does not restrict women from singing 'IDF religious won't hear women sing? Use earplugs'
Gantz’s ruling is part of an effort to end weeks of controversy started by a series of incidents when Orthodox soldiers walked out of military ceremonies to avoid hearing female singers.
“There’s room in the IDF for women to contribute in whatever way they can and there is no prohibition on women singing,” Gantz said last week. “Israel and the IDF need to clarify that the commander is the authority in the military and whenever it is a formal event soldiers will be obligated to attend.”
Gantz also announced that rabbis who want to speak to groups of soldiers will need to first receive approval from Chief IDF Rabbi Brig.- Gen. Rafi Peretz. A representative of the IDF Rabbinate Corps will also be present at all outside lectures to ensure that the content is in line with military policy.
In related news, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh recently decided to ban IDF units from paying singers to perform at military ceremonies or events over the coming year, in an effort to cut back on spending.