Religious female soldiers are reporting that they have been receiving text messages from an unknown number advising them to download the new booklet by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, arguing against incorporating women in the IDF.
Dozens of soldiers have turned to Aluma, an organization that assists religious women with a meaningful military service, and complained of receiving similar texts.
The soldiers said a link to download the teachings of the rabbi—who heads the Eli pre-military academy—on the subject of "How the perception of gender disintegrates the people's army," was sent to their phones without them requesting to be added to any mailing list, which is against the law.
It was not immediately clear whether the texts were sent to them specifically as soldiers or whether their information existed in a general database of religious young women who may be interested in the teachings of Rabbi Levinstein.Bnei Dovid, the pre-military academy in Eli where the rabbi teaches, denied any connection to the messages. Either way, the women felt harassed by the incident.
'The army has adopted radical feminism'
In the newly released booklet by Rabbi Levinstein, he expounded on his views on feminism and post-modern ideals and critiqued them, along with criticism of the IDF.
"The IDF is undergoing a process, to which unfortunately the army brass is a partner, of assimilating an agenda of blurring gender, a product of radical feminism which aims to eradicate Judaism," argued the rabbi.
"If these ideas were not explicitly written, we would surely have considered them to be urban legends, " added the rabbi. "But official IDF documents show that it has chosen to adopt a radical agenda and integrate it into the ranks."
According to Levinstein, when the matter at hand was controversial among the general public, and not strictly related to national security, it constituted a serious digression from the IDF's authority vis-à-vis the general population.
Army as partner to the feminist revolution
The rabbi referred to an official IDF document from two years ago that explained the name change of the IDF chief of staff's women's affairs adviser to "adviser on gender" as the smoking gun that proves the IDF was a "partner in the new feminist revolution" and a partner in re-education.
Levinstein believed that the IDF was implanting a radical worldview among soldiers and working to revolutionize the face of society. He concluded that, "This issue goes far beyond religious soldiers.
"To this day, the religious Zionist public has dealt mainly with the question of the effect of coed service on the religious soldier... But the deeper process that exists here is the assimilation of an agenda that blurs gender and identity, from the school of radical feminism that seeks to erase identities, and this is already a much more problematic process for the entire Israeli society."
Following Ynet's publication, the Chotam organization (dedicated to restoring Judaism to the center of public agenda—ed) took responsibility for sending the messages, and said in response: "A significant contribution of the religious women in the State of Israel can be found within the framework of national service.
"An army aims to win a battle and use tremendous physical force. As a result, an absolute majority of religious girls turn to a more appropriate framework for their spiritual and moral being. The Chotam organization will continue to act and advance its goal: allowing the IDF to win."
The Israel Women's Network NGO commented on the matter, saying, "It is appalling that every week, medieval minded rabbis, who receive salaries and funding from the state, trample its institutions and nothing is done about them.