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Israeli soldiers rest during a training session in Ben Shemen forest, near the city of Modiin May 23, 2016..(Photo by: REUTERS)
Grandfather to IDF: Make prayer for soldiers' welfare for females, too
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau told the grandfather that his request would be evaluated by the Chief Rabbinate.
Yuval Peleg, whose granddaughter recently enlisted in the IDF, has made a special appeal to the army to include female IDF soldiers in the special Prayer for the Welfare of the IDF said every Shabbat in many synagogues, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post’s sister paper, Maariv.

“It is inconceivable that when God forbid they fall, they are referred to specifically, but when alive they are not,” said Peleg, whose appeal made its way from the IDF to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The text of the prayer – compiled by Shlomo Goren, who founded and served as the first head of the Military Rabbinate of the IDF – begins: “He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Force.”

Every reference to soldiers in the prayer is in the plural. In English, there is no gender distinction for any of those references. In Hebrew, however, there are both masculine and feminine versions, and the masculine can also include females. For example, “fighters of” in English translates to the masculine/general hayalei or the exclusively feminine hayalot in Hebrew. Peleg wants the prayer to add those feminine plurals.

The IDF Spokesperson responded that the text of the prayer for the IDF is in the hands of the Israeli Rabbinate, not the IDF, as it is said in the context of the civilian synagogue.

Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau replied to Peleg’s request: “We have forwarded your request to the office of the Chief Rabbinate for the subject to be discussed.”

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