Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday, 8 Adar, demanded the resignation of Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, who together with Rabbi Eli Sadan heads the Bnei David IDF prepatory yeshiva.
Levinstein spoke out against today’s IDF policy, the placement of women in combat units. The rabbi spoke out harshly, stating women belong in Sheirut Leumi and not the military.
Lieberman begins his letter, “As one who has great respect and admiration for rabbonim, I was very disappointed with the blunt and dismissive style of one viewed as a respected rabbi…in my humble opinion, this testifies on the one hand to the desire to provoke and agitate and on the other, the loss of discretion – I do not know which is the worse of the two”.
He then speaks of those women who serve and those who sacrificed their lives. Lieberman acknowledges the contribution made to the IDF by Bnei David, but feels “your values cannot serve as the basis for educating the yeshiva’s talmidim”.
Lieberman explains “Since this is a recurring pattern, it is clear you stand behind these statements”, referring to last summer when Rabbi Levinstein spoke out against the IDF and the toeiva community.
Lieberman calls on Rabbi Levinstein to resign his post, one he has held together with Rabbi Sadan for close to 30 years, since its establishment. The senior minister explains that failure to do so would result in him using his authority to halt Defense Ministry recognition of Bnei David as a prepatory yeshiva.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)