Rabbi Scheinen. 'I have a lot of respect for women'
Photo: Yair Harush

Rabbi: Woman can't be police commander

Ashdod Rabbi Yosef Scheinen stirs row during official police ceremony by saying that women are unfit to command as this is a 'masculine role'

Ashdod Rabbi Yosef Scheinen has apparently not heard of Major-General Orna Barbivai, late Deputy Inspector General Ahuva Tomer and the Israel Air Force's five new female pilots and navigators – otherwise it would be difficult to explain his remarks on womanhood.


The rabbi stirred a row Tuesday during a change of command ceremony at the city's police station, when he said that women cannot be in charge of a police station as this was a "masculine role".


After the ceremony he explained, "God created women gentle."


During his speech at the official ceremony, Rabbi Scheinen noted that "there has been a lot of talk about the exclusion of women, but I haven't seen any woman in Ashdod appointed as a police station commander, as this is a masculine role which women are unable to fill."


The remarks sent waves through the audience, which was comprised of distinguished city officials and police officers, including quite a few women.


Southern District Police Commander Yossi Pariente responded to the rabbi's statement in his own speech. "I would like to say to the honorable rabbi that there are many women in the police force, and I wish to see a woman appointed station commander during my term."


'God created women gentle'

Rabbi Scheinen said after the ceremony that he had a lot of respect for women and had no intention of hurting them, but stuck to his opinion that they are unfit to command.


"I have been living in Ashdod for 28 years, and a woman has never been appointed commander of a police station. And when I asked myself why, I think it's not a suitable role for women. It's not that there's something wrong with them, but a commander must be somewhat tough, while God created women gentle."


The rabbi explained that Judaism had a great amount of respect for women. "It's not that we disrespect women," he said. "There is quite a lot of proof of that in the Bible and rabbinic literature.


"The fact that a woman marks her bat mitzvah at the age of 12 and a man at the age of 13 shows that women are wiser than men, and are therefore ahead of them on this matter."


Rabbi Scheinen went on to address the incident in which Tanya Rosenblit refused to move to the back of a segregated bus traveling from Ashdod to Jerusalem. According to the rabbi, the secular passenger arrived from a different neighborhood in order to spite.


"She intentionally got on the bus in an act of provocation and incitement," he said, adding that "nonetheless, seculars and haredim live in complete harmony in this city."


A female officer serving in the Lakhish District said after the ceremony, "It's a shame that such remarks were heard in such a ceremony."


She added that "in the past, women did serve as station commander. Unfortunately, this has yet to happen in the Lakhish District, but it definitely could happen."


Omri Efraim contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 01.11.12, 08:02
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