Photo: Haim Zach
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon favors 'firing squad' over women's singing
Photo: Haim Zach
IDF Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office

'Troops will die rather than listen to women'

Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon blasts IDF committee's expected recommendation not to exempt religious soldiers from official ceremonies which include performance of women. 'Troops must give their life for this issue,' he states

Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, head of the Elon Moreh hesder yeshiva, has slammed the expected recommendation of a committee appointed by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to force religious soldiers to attend official ceremonies which include the performance of women.


Elyakim warned that if the IDF were to adopt the recommendations, many rabbis would orders their students to walk out of these events, "even if they are faced by a firing squad for doing so."


In an interview to Kol Hai Radio, the rabbi blasted the expected recommendation, saying that soldiers must "give their life for this issue."


According to Levanon, this is a move of coercion on the part of the army against its religious soldiers, which would send them into a situation in which, according to Halacha, a person must not give in and violate even the simplest mitzvot under any circumstances.


Rabbi Levanon stated that in such a case he would instruct his students to stop joining the IDF, as it would no longer be a Jewish army, and would expect Military Rabbinate officials to resign.


"People don't understand the halachic entanglement they're getting themselves into," the Samaria rabbi said. "They are leading to a situation in which rabbis will be forced to instruct their soldiers to walk out of such events even if they are faced by a firing squad outside and shot to death.


"They have to understand what they are getting themselves into… Everything that has been agreed on is being broken.


"If the IDF accepts the committee's recommendation, which means that a religious soldier must be present when a woman sings, and I say this carefully, there will be many rabbis and religious authorities who will issue an instruction that a soldier must give his life and walk out of such an event…"


Rabbi Levanon strongly criticized the discussion of this issue. "Never mind forcing soldiers to attack against their will, but this is about listening to a female singer! Is this what the army is about? Is this what makes a person a better soldier? This whole issue is clearly an attempt to harass religious soldiers."


Asked by the interviewer, Elad Kinset, whether a Religious Zionist Rabbi should not be more flexible in favor of the army's intactness, Levanon responded: "We are all subject to Shulchan Aruch, Maimonides, the Talmud – both the haredi sector and the national-religious sector… Once there is coercion, Halacha cannot be compromised.


"I certainly hope that there will be some smart people there who will curb this awful move, but if not – we'll have no choice… I'll recommend to anyone who asks me not to enlist anymore."


IDF rabbi: Soldiers mustn't refuse orders

Chief Military Rabbi Rafi Peretz, on the other hand, stressed his strong objection to soldiers refusing orders when he appeared before the committee.


Nonetheless, the IDF rabbi opposes the committee's expected decisions, as he believes that clear rules should be set for exempting soldiers from ceremonies which include the singing of women and that commanders' discretion on the matter must be limited as much as possible.


He said the recent events – which climaxed with the dismissal of religious cadets from an officers' course after they refused to listen to women sing – proved that the commanding ranks sometimes found it difficult to make the right decision.


According to Peretz, there is no doubt that women will continue singing in the IDF, but an effort should be made to provide a suitable solution for a soldier whose conscience tells him not to listen to them.



פרסום ראשון: 11.18.11, 14:02
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