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Photo: Shai Rosenzweig
Military band (archives)
Photo: Shai Rosenzweig
Cadets dismissed over woman's song
Four of nine troops who left training base auditorium in protest of female soldier's performance dismissed from officers' course. Rabbi Drukman slams army's 'immoral decision'
Four of the nine religious cadets who walked out of a military event as a female soldier began singing solo will be dismissed from their officers' course, an IDF committee has decided.

 

The remaining five soldiers will continue the course after managing to convince the committee that the move had not been preplanned.

 

The incident took place on Monday evening during an event focusing on Operation Cast Lead. When female soldiers began singing solo as part of a military band, the religious troops chose to leave the auditorium.

 

They were followed by Regiment Commander Uzi Kileger, who informed them angrily: "If you don't come back inside immediately, you will be refusing orders. Anyone refusing an order will be dismissed from the course."

 

According to the General Staff orders, a religious soldier is entitled not to take part in recreational activity which contradicts his lifestyle and faith, but the orders do not apply to non-recreational military events.

 

It should be noted that a considerable number of the officers' course cadets are religious, and most of them chose to remain in the auditorium during the military band's performance.

 

No defiance

Rabbi Haim Drukman, chairman of the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva Center, said in response that the dismissal was an "outrageous, delusional and immoral decision."

 

"The obligation to listen to women singing appears nowhere in the General Staff command, and listening to women singing cannot testify to the cadet's abilities as an officer and commander in the IDF," Rabbi Drukman said.

 

"These are outstanding cadets we are talking about, and they must be returned to track and allowed to be officers in the army."

 

A source involved in the mediation attempts with the army claimed that the commanders acted unwisely by failing to consider the religious soldiers when planning the event. "The performance could have been scheduled for the last part of the evening, so that anyone not interested in watching it – for religious or other reasons – would be able to leave before it starts."

 

Rabbi Re'em Hacohen, head of the Otniel Yeshiva, whose students were among the dismissed cadets, told Ynet before the decision was made, "The fact that the cadets' officers chose to view their exit as a violation of an order is an act of foolishness."

 

According to Hacohen, the incident was not an act of protest and defiance on the part of the soldiers, but a required decision in light of the contradiction between two important values.

 

The soldiers' dismissal, he said, would hurt both them and the entire army, which would be losing "excellent officers."

 

 

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