Gantz. 'Discipline important'
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Photo: Haim Zach
Levanon favors 'firing squad' over women's singing?
Photo: Haim Zach

Gantz: Everyone must partake in defending Israel

IDF chief of staff disapproves of Samaria rabbi's threat to instruct religious soldiers not to enlist if forced to attend official ceremonies with women performers. 'It's not about mandatory service but the importance of serving,' Gantz says

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz expressed his discontent on Sunday over comments made by Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon against forcing religious soldiers to attend official ceremonies which include the performance of women.


Levanon, head of the Elon Moreh hesder yeshiva, had slammed Friday the expected recommendation of a committee appointed by Gantz, instructing his students not to enlist into the army service.


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"From what I've heard, I didn't like what Rabbi Levanon said over the weekend. The discipline within the command and the unity among the divisions is what's important," insisted Gantz during a reception held for new IDF soldiers at the recruitment center.


Benny Gantz visits recruitment center (Photo: Yaron Brener) (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Benny Gantz visits recruitment center (Photo: Yaron Brener)

The rabbi had warned last week 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.


The IDF chief addressed the rabbi's statements, saying: "In the IDF one servers a national service. Everyone together, religious and secular, women and men. Those who contribute are important, not those who don't."


Keeping watch on Syria

Gantz also discussed the ongoing deadly clashes in Syria, after RPG shells were fired at the headquarters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's political party in Damascus.


"Unfortunately we've witnessed Assad drink the blood of his people and butcher them," said Gantz. "We cannot intervene, but we're staying on guard."


The IDF Chief repeated his earlier statements from last week, reinforcing his support for an initiated military operation in the Gaza Strip. "There are terror organizations in Gaza, including the Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We won't be able to sit idly by for too long while millions of citizens are living under an active threat. When a move will be made, it must be initiated," he stressed.


In regards to the upcoming cuts in the IDF, including letting go of over 1,000 career soldiers, he remarked: "We must increase efficiency. Not just salary wise but also to allocate budgets to places that need them more. Every step we'll take will be transparent and fair towards our servicemen."


Gantz expressed his satisfaction with the growing motivations of new recruits to serve in a combat unit. "The weapons you will receive can kill, and one should only do so when in battle. We do not kill off people for no reason. We do not murder or shoot at those who do not threaten us.


"It's not okay that not everyone carries the burden of the army service. It's not about mandatory service but the importance of serving. Everyone must take part in defending the State of Israel," he concluded.



פרסום ראשון: 11.20.11, 13:13
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