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New Year Request

Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar Photo: Haim Zach
Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar Photo: Haim Zach
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz Photo: Ben Kelmer
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz Photo: Ben Kelmer

Rabbis to IDF: Solve women's singing issue

In traditional meeting ahead of High Holidays, Israel's chief rabbis urge army chief to let religious soldiers avoid listening to women sing without being forced to disobey orders. They also condemn 'price tag' incident at IDF base

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 09.12.11, 08:51 / Israel Jewish Scene

Israel's chief rabbis have called on IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to find a solution which would allow religious soldiers to avoid listening to women sing without being forced to disobey their commanders' orders.


During a meeting held Sunday at the Chief Rabbinate office, Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar told Lieutenant-General Gantz that they expected commanders to let every soldier leave a military event which includes women's singing, if listening to it contradicts his religious belief.


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The three sat down for the traditional meeting between the chief rabbis and IDF chief, held every year before the High Holidays. Gantz briefed Amar and Metzger on the security challenges the army is dealing with, and stated that the IDF would accomplish all of its missions on all fronts as long as the people of Israel remain united.


The rabbis responded by saying that they would do all in their power to maintain such unity, but that they expected the army to do the same.


The army chief agreed that the clash between commands and Halacha required a solution, and said he planned to discuss the issue with Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz.

הרמטכ"ל גנץ עם הרבנים הראשיים עמאר ומצגר (צילום: דובר צה"ל) 

Gantz with Rabbis Metzger (R) and Amar (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office)


At the end of the meeting, the rabbis gave Gantz a shofar and wished him a happy new year. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the "price tag" incident against IDF forces in Judea and Samaria last week, noting that "this is not the way of tradition and the Jewish religion."

Gantz gave the rabbis a silver-made pomegranate.


High Court to discuss dismissal?

The row over women's singing in the army made headlines last week following an incident which took place at an officers' course in an IDF training base. Nine religious cadets who walked out of a military event as a female soldier began singing solo.


Four of the nine cadets were dismissed on Thursday, while the remaining five will continue the course after managing to convince the committee that the move had not been preplanned.


The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel threatened to petition the High Court of Justice following the dismissal. The Forum's representative, Attorney Yitzhak Bam, sent a letter to Gantz and to Chief Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit, claiming that "the right of every soldier, cadet and officer to maintain his religious belief is one of the foundations of a democratic society."


The letter also claimed that the commander's response to the cadets' conduct 'cause unbearable damage to the soldiers' faith which has a disastrous meaning."



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