Photo: Hatzofe
Rabbi Eli Sadan
Photo: Hatzofe

Rabbi speaks out against religious 'takeover' of IDF

Prominent moderate Rabbi Eli Sadan claims extremist statements which can be heard often in religious society, not representative of religious debate, silent majority

Among the many extremist voices reverberating in the public arena, Rabbi Eli Sadan is trying to present an alternative, one that is halachicly and socially moderate.


He claims that this is the voice of the silent religious-Zionist majority – "these statements represent at least 80% of the religious public," which is why he chose to write a pamphlet titled "A Direction for the Religious Zionists" that tries to help people from the sector of society to find the right words to avoid the general criticism," in his words.


If you were to ask him the person who failed in finding the right words was Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the Rabbi of the Elon Moreh settlement and the head of the local yeshiva who expressed himself in a very harsh manner with regards to the matter of women singing in the military. "He did something I do not approve of."


Contrary to extremist statements which can be heard more and more often in religious society, Rabbi Sadan believes that this is not representative of the religious debate.


"In the Israeli discourse, extremist statements have a central position because the media has an interest in intensifying them and moreover because a portion of the religious media emphasizes extremist and marginal views within religious society."


The man who founded the Military Yeshiva Academy of Bnei David-Eli and it's secular counterpart the Midreshet Nachshon is afraid of a civil war, weakness towards enemies from without, and mass-emigration from Israel.


"All Jews are brothers, and when a Jew fights against a Jew, it is not a civil war, it is a war of brother against brother," he warns.


"Saying 'it will never happen' is not a legitimate statement in the post-Holocaust era… I am very much afraid that the level of distrust and the inability to cooperate will bring us to a point where we will not have the strength to deal with the enemies that surround us – and no less serious – I fear that some will want to immigrate from Israel."


What some call "the kippot takeover of the military," he calls the breach of social balances and warns that "the IDF is the security belt that Israel cannot exist without, and it needs the support of the public in its entirety. It needs to be an army that the people identify with."


And what about the option of a haredi military yeshiva academy? "The haredi public is undergoing important changes but it still needs to be left alone to progress at its own true pace," says Rabbi Sadan. "It has already been proven that coercion doesn't work – not in one direction or the other," he added.



פרסום ראשון: 03.22.12, 13:47
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