פרס הרמטכ"ל לחיילי אוגדת עזה
Intelligence soldier on Israel's southern border
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Chief of staff Aviv Kochavi left, and Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett

Military chief bans religious lessons to female soldiers while on duty

The decision comes a months after it was first revealed a civilian and wife of a rabbi has been entering a sensitive IDF base in Israel's south, lecturing female field intelligence troops on the virtue of marriage and other religious content

Yoav Zitun |
Published: 02.26.20 , 23:00
Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi has recently instructed all military units to uphold existing regulations forbidding religious lessons to be taught to female IDF soldiers while on duty. A copy of the directive has already been delivered to the Ministry of Defense.
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  • The order came after complaints were made by a member of Avigdor Liberman's largely secular Yisrael Beytenu party, who claimed that every two weeks a civilian wife of a rabbi enters an IDF base located along the Egyptian border to give bible lessons to female field intelligence soldiers while they're on duty, as was reported on Ynet earlier this year.
    שר הביטחון, נפתלי בנט, נפגש לראשונה עם חברי פורום המטה הכללישר הביטחון, נפתלי בנט, נפגש לראשונה עם חברי פורום המטה הכללי
    Chief of staff Aviv Kochavi left, and Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
    The authority to approve civilian religious bodies lies within the Military Rabbinate, which provides permits at its discretion.
    In recent years, the Military Rabbinate, which is responsible for all religious affairs in the IDF, has initiated reforms to regulate the issue and align with the contents approved by the Education and Youth Corps.
    "We will make sure orders are understood and carried out accordingly," a military official said, adding the commanders on the ground made the wrong decision by allowing the civilian to enter.
    נתניהו והרבצ"ר איל קרים בחתימה על מכירת החמץ של צה"ל וכוחות הביטחוןנתניהו והרבצ"ר איל קרים בחתימה על מכירת החמץ של צה"ל וכוחות הביטחון
    Head of military rabbinate Gen. Eyal Karim left and Prime Minister Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    According to testimonies provided to Ynet by several reservists who have served at the base, the lessons take place "while the female soldiers are glued to their monitors and track everything happening along the border fence – with full vigilance without distractions."
    "The rabbi's wife is giving them lectures on subjects such as 'the correct attitude of a wife to her husband under rabbinic law' and 'abstention and fasting'," one witness said.
    פרס הרמטכ"ל לחיילי אוגדת עזה פרס הרמטכ"ל לחיילי אוגדת עזה
    Intelligence soldier on Israel's southern border
    (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
    Another reservist who was present for one of these lectures said that the soldiers are essentially a captive audience, as they are not allowed to leave their posts, and have to listen whether they choose to or not.
    The civilian in the midst of the affair said her lessons are in high demand and the female soldiers have asked that she come more often. "Those who hate Judaism are behind the recent decision by the military chief," she said claiming she was never told she could not enter the secure area and lecture the soldiers while they were on duty.

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