Photo: Yehonatan Zur
Rabbi Melamed
Photo: Yehonatan Zur

'Disobedient rabbi' gets ultimatum

Rabbi Melamed told he must condemn IDF insubordination by Sunday or face

A controversial rabbi has been told he must unequivocally condemn, by Sunday, IDF insubordination by religious soldiers or face harsh consequences.


Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, who heads the Har Bracha Yeshiva, met with Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai Thursday evening in the wake of recent displays of insubordination by religious soldiers that stirred a row nationwide.


During the meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half, Vilnai demanded that Rabbi Melamed condemn disobedience, as other hesder yeshiva rabbis did recently.


At the end of the meeting, the rabbi asked for several days to examine the issue. However, the deputy defense minister demanded an answer by this coming Sunday.


"We can't have a situation where IDF soldiers think they have an additional source of authority to look up to in addition to their military commander," Vilnai told the rabbi. Should Rabbi Melamed refuse to make a clear declaration, his yeshiva's special arrangement with the army may be revoked.


Hesder yeshivas offer their members the opportunity to engage in Torah study while performing a shortened military service.


Sources at the yeshiva said that Thursday's meeting was pleasant and was held in an atmosphere of mutual respect.


"The positions were cleared up in a to-the-point manner while some issues still need to be clarified and will be clarified soon, possibly in another meeting," the yeshiva's statement said.


The affair started after Rabbi Melamed openly backed the insubordination displays of his students. He initially refused to attend Thursday's meeting with Vilnai, claiming that the deputy minister had no authority to hold such hearing. He also insisted that the session not be held in the Defense Ministry, prompting the venue to change to an army facility in Jerusalem.


פרסום ראשון: 12.10.09, 23:48
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