Former members of the IDF Chief Rabbinate gathered on Tuesday, in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. They convened to exchange ideas and discuss the alarming situation in the IDF regarding the growing chasm between the military and religion.
Former IDF rabbonim from the air force, homefront command and other areas took part, including Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel Shlita, Rabbi Yisrael Rosen of the Tzomet Institute, and many others.
Rav Rosen warned against launching an attack against IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz and the military rabbinate, fearing a total breakdown of the military rabbinate.
Others were less forgiving, blaming Rabbi Peretz for the deterioration between the IDF and Torah observant soldiers, accusing him of failing to maintain a functioning rabbinate to assist and promote the observance of mitzvos in the military. They simply feel Rabbi Peretz is unfamiliar with the military rabbinate and how it should operate, and therefore, he is not getting the job done. In short, they accuse him of being clueless.
The spoke of the need for “proper integration” that permits a Shomer Shabbat soldier to enter the military and serve without having to feel compelled to compromise his religious lifestyle in the process.
They accuse Rav Peretz of failing to give backing to his soldiers, as was seen in recent cases involving cadets in officers training and other cases involving davening times and kol isha.
Rav Shmuel Dreilich referred to “Ronsky”, former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky, and his predecessor Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, the rav during the expulsion from Gush Katif, blaming the two of them for their profound failures and destruction of the institution known as the IDF Chief Rabbinate. He spoke of how the rabbonim of the Mechinot, the IDF preparatory yeshivot ousted Weiss, citing Bnei David rosh yeshiva Rabbi Eli Sadan and his assistant Rabbi Yigal Levinstein in particular, explaining how they bypassed Rabbi Weiss and went directly to Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, calling to oust Weiss so “they could have the last word”.
What is certain is that support for Rabbi Peretz is waning, and he is rapidly becoming a lone voice in his post as the mora d’asra of the IDF.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)