Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu warned this week of the rising prominence of the liberal stream in religious Zionism and slammed rabbis who "kowtow to women."
During a Torah lesson he delivered on Monday, the prominent national religious leader spoke in length about the importance of observing chastity codes. He advised soldiers to cover their ears during military ceremonies that include women singing. "It's better to go to jail than to obey the commander and hear a woman sing or play." He stated.
Eliyahu stressed that listening to a woman deliver a speech, if she did so while using hand gestures, was also forbidden: "It's very serious. One should watch out for these things."
Men and women sitting together at weddings was also banned, according to the rabbi, let alone dancing together. "Today at weddings everything is allowed – to dance, to look… a man dances with a woman he doesn't know… men swap women. This is a very serious thing!"
"Rabbis, repent!" urged Eliyahu. "Admit: Say, 'we were wrong. We won't allow mixed dancing, mixed weddings, mixed sitting'." He said that more liberal poskim (rabbis that issue halachic rulings) were favored by women, "Because a woman wants to be looked at. But men don't like them, because men know this is wrong."
'Soldiers should disobey orders'
The former chief rabbi further stated that a man must never send his regards to another man's wife. "A man can say to another man, 'My wife sends her regards to your wife' but not, 'Tell your wife I said hi.' This is the road of chastity, which is the most important thing for the Jewish people."
Eliyahu's son, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, also referred to the issue of women performing in military events. He commented on a recent statement by the chief education officer, who said religious soldiers must stay put during such ceremonies, despite the halachic problem.
"This order is clearly illegal," said Eliyahu. "A person cannot be forced to go against the Torah. Today it's singing, tomorrow it's singing plus half naked women… a breach in such a question is like fire – you don't know where it's going to end."