A senior right-wing rabbi has called for the dismissal of Colonel Eran Niv, commander of the officers' school at an IDF
training base, and Gefen Regiment Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Uzi Kileger, in light of their decision to dismiss
four cadets who walked out of a military ceremony in order to avoid listening to a female solider sing.
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of the Har Bracha Yeshiva, wrote in his column in religious weekly "Besheva" that the "unfortunate and humiliating incident", in which the four cadets were dismissed and five other were forced to apologize, could only be repaired through a "firm demand" for the two commanders' dismissal.
In his column, Melamed referred to the commanders' decision as "behavior expressing national irresponsibility.
"It's clear that a commander who gets into unnecessary conflicts with his subordinates is a bad commander," he added, "and every sensible person understands that they reached an unnecessary conflict here…
"It's not just about the soldiers' right to be loyal to their religious conscience; it's about respect for Israel's tradition.
"The religious cadets are not the only ones humiliated by these commanders, but also their own grandparents, who observed mitzvot and studied Torah devotedly under very harsh conditions. And only thanks to that, their grandchildren Eran Niv and Uzi Klieger were born in Israel and reach their current positions."
According to the rabbi, the incident, which took place on the backdrop of attempts to integrate haredim into the army, declares "to the world, with the chief's of staff's support, that the army has decided to degrade the religious public which is loyal to Israel's tradition."
Rabbi Melamed went on to point a finger at the Zionist-religious representation in the Knesset, which he said had not acted sufficiently to prevent the incident from repeating itself.
"If the religious public's leaders ask themselves why the great religious public fails to vote for the National Religious Party, they should just look at this affair and similar incidents and figure out the answer themselves…
"It's hard to imagine a similar incident happening to people from the Left. No commander would even consider forcing Meretz people, who are of a much smaller number, to do something that is against their conscience and does not involve a serious security issue."
Rabbi Melamed has often criticized the IDF for causing its religious soldiers "to be torn" between orders and Halacha, and his yeshiva has even been removed from the Hesder arrangement following his refusal to condemn troops for refusing orders.