Brigadier-General (Res) Elaza Stern was responding to a letter circulated by the outgoing head of the personnel directorate, Avi Zamir, who complained that a battle for authority between the Education Corps and the Military Rabbinate was harming female soldiers and officers forced to abide by rules of modesty and religion.
- Receive Ynetnews updates directly
to your desktop
"We need to maintain their dignity so that they can serve in any position, as this is for the IDF's benefit," he said, urging coordination between the two military entities.
Stern was also outraged by Zamir's decision to issue condemnations on his last days of office. "Army commanders must take care of what needs to be done while in office and not send out a letter on the last day," he said.
He added that some religious rules have no place in the military, such as the prohibition on hearing a woman sing. "This is a pathetic demand," he said.
"A soldier serving as a shooting instructor doesn't have to touch a soldier who doesn't want to be touched. The army is large enough and wise enough to handle all of society's complications, but it demands thought and reason that cannot be summed up in a few rules."
Finally, Stern said, the best solution for parents concerned over religious coercion would be to send their kids to serve in combat units.
In his letter, Zamir recommended transferring Jewish education matters from the Rabbinate to the Education Corps, igniting the ire of many in the religious community, including the former IDF chief rabbi.
"Who are the officers in this corps? These are just guys from Tel Aviv! They can't teach Judaism – where will they get their information from, Wikipedia?" he told Ynet.
"The question is whether it will have the image of a Jewish national army – and I'm not referring to religion – which stresses Jewish history, the Bible, and other connections with religion, or whether it will be an army of a 'people's state'."
Kobi Nahshoni contributed to this report
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook