Rabbis Levinstein and Sadan

Prominent rabbis come out in support of Levinstein against Lieberman

Despite his disparaging remarks, prominent religious Zionist rabbis are coming out in support of the embattled Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, saying that politicians won't stifle their right to free speech.

Rabbis in charge of the Bnei David pre-military yeshiva responded to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's ultimatum, saying, "Out of our belief in our jobs as teachers and educators, we will not cooperate with any attempt to harm the freedom of expression and opinion of rabbis and Bnei David students and alumni."



Rabbi Levinstein's colleague and former Israel Prize recipient, Rabbi Eli Sadan, has responded to the ultimatum, saying he will not dismiss Rabbi Levinstein or call on him to resign.


Rabbis Yigal Levinstein (L) and Eli Sadan (R)
Rabbis Yigal Levinstein (L) and Eli Sadan (R)


"We will not allow politicians to ride on our backs," said Sadan. "Worse things have been said in Israel by all manner of officials, and in a democracy, the freedom of expression is one of the top values. The attempt to dismiss Yigal is only for political ends. We will not cooperate with a dictatorship."


Other prominent religious Zionist rabbis have joined the chorus against not only Levinstein's dismissal, but also criticism of his opinions regarding men and women in the IDF.


Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky) (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)


Director of Tzohar, Rabbi David Stav, said, "We are asking the IDF to allow every boy and girl to serve in a permissible unit according to Jewish law and not in places where serious Jewish legal questions arise, which can lead to a situation where something is forbidden by religious law. There are certain situations where physical proximity and intimacy occur and that is forbidden. The IDF needs to make every effort to allow boys and girls to serve according to Jewish law and religious belief."


However, despite all the support Levinstein is receiving, Lieberman has not budged on his ultimatum.


"As someone who knows the importance of military preparatory yeshivas, I have no doubt that they will continue to function and prepare the next generation of IDF warriors. The last thing I want is to harm that," said Lieberman. "Whoever really wants to continue the success and functioning of these yeshivas knows that it is incompatible with Rabbi Levinstein's continued service."


(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)


פרסום ראשון: 03.17.17, 17:02
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