Rabbis opposed to Bennett over women in the IDF
Dozens of prominent rabbis have signed a petition decrying what they believe to be Ministry of Education encouraging the drafting of religious women into the IDF; 'We call on Minister of Education Naftali Bennett to maintain the values and principles of religious education based on the decisions of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.'
There has been a significant increase in the amount of graduates of state religious education schools who have ignored the historic ruling and enlisted in the IDF in recent years. As a result, rabbis and religious educators have started resisting the trend.
Some believe the war on religious women in the IDF is lost and they must offer assistance to religious women during their army service, even if they chose the wrong path in their eyes. However, others take an even stronger line and say that the issue of women in the army isn’t forbidden by Jewish law.
In time, organizations such as Aluma were founded, whose goals are to guide women through the draft process, advise them about different options and available tracks and care for them and their religious needs during their service. In recent years, there has also been an increase in military preparatory academies for religious men and women to help their integration into the IDF.
Because of the sensitivity of the issue and the disputes between rabbis, there are also more conservative rabbis and schools who oppose any such activity related to women enlisting in the IDF.
Organizations such as Aluma, which try to get to a larger crowd, explain that they are not encouraging enlistment, but only that they wish to help those who have chosen to enlist.
Now for the first time, the Ministry of Education is choosing to fund these organizations, much to the chagrin of Orthodox rabbis.
The Religious Education Administration recently published a draft of informal information offered to religious students about the possibilities of service in the IDF. Ministry officials made sure to point out that the information and guidance offered is not meant to encourage women to draft, but rabbis are not convinced.
In the petition, rabbis wrote, "Currently, there are attempts to enter the religious education system and influence women to draft into the IDF instead of doing national service. We call on Minister of Education Naftali Bennett to maintain the values and principles of religious education based on the decisions of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel."
Under the heading "national service to begin with," the petition said, "The position of religious Zionist rabbis on the issue of girls in the IDF has always been consistent with the position of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, that religious girls avoid military service. This has always been the position of the Religious Education Administration, throughout its autonomous existence regarding decisions and educational values as required by the Education Act."