The State stressed in its response that according to army rules, a soldier may choose not to take part in a cultural or recreational activity if he fears it may violate his faith or values, but that the discussed event – which focused on military history – did not apply to these definitions.
According to the State, when it comes to activities that are not considered cultural or recreational, IDF commander must examine each case individually and make a decision.
"This is what was done in the invitation of IDF bands to the military history event," the State claimed. "The commander planned the evening in advance and took into account the need to consider the religious cadets' feelings, but decided that the band would include both male and female soldiers."
The State further claimed that the cadet's dismissal was appropriate, as he was well aware of the regiment commander's order not to leave the auditorium, but chose to walk out anyway and did not state that he would act differently in the future.
"Needless to say, the cadet's return to the officers' course would have a detrimental effect on the obedience principle and the duty to obey all IDF commands."
The State clarified that five of the nine cadets who left the auditorium understood the results of their actions and the duty to obey commands, and were therefore allowed to continue the course, while the remaining four were dismissed but would be allowed to return to the next officers' course.
"There is no disagreement that the petitioner's status in the officers' course imposes a special duty to take military discipline seriously," the State explained. "We are not talking about an illegal order, and therefore even if the petitioner had any reservations – he was committed to obey his commanders' orders."
The petition was filed about a week and a half ago, with its main claim being that the commanders' demand that the cadets remain in the auditorium during the woman's song was illegal.
The petitioner added that forcing soldiers to listen to women sing against their faith was not just illegal, but very serious in light of the fact that the commanders stated that the course's cadets would be forced to do so in the future as well.
The dismissed cadet, who serves in the Nahal Haredi regiment, argued in his petition that although the regiment commander defined women's singing as "a professional matter", this is a "groundless claim" which will have consequences in the future.
He noted that "the reason I joined the army and this particular regiment was my desire to serve in the IDF and contribute to the people of Israel, while maintaining Jewish Law without any compromises.
"A reality as the one described in the petition (if this honorable court fails to change it), may put an end to the hope of integrating haredim into the army," he warned.
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