More On Officer Cadets Who Walked Out Of ‘Kol Isha’ Performance

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Last week, YWN reported that a number of frum IDF officer cadets were in hot water for politely walking out of a performance by women. They made a genuine effort to adhere to Halacha without interrupting the ongoing event, but that was insufficient for their commander, who ultimately demanded an apology for their actions.

The nine were split in their decision, and some decided to apologize and remain while the others refused, insisting adherence to Torah does not justify and apology, opting to be expelled from the officers training program.

One audible voice of objection was heard from Rabbi Re’em HaCohen, the rosh yeshiva of the Otniel Hesder Yeshiva, where most of the cadets learn. He condemned the move, stating that IDF guidelines are not in contradiction with Halacha and the officer simply acted inappropriately and without justification. He fell short however of publically criticizing IDF Chief Rabbi, Brigadier-General Rafi Eitan for his silence.

The Land of Israel Forum sent a stern letter to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and IDF Judge Advocate General Major-General Avichai Mandelblitt demanding that the four who were expelled from the officers training course should be immediately reinstated. The letter points out that any officer or soldier for that matter has the basic right to live in accordance with his religion, a basic tenet of any democratic society, but in this case, this basic right was trampled.

The letter adds that demanding an apology was not acceptable, since they have nothing to apologize for. “What did they do wrong? That they preferred to adhere to their religion over remaining to take part in a non-essential army ceremony”.

The letter also warned that if the decision is not reversed, the forum will pursue legal channels.

Unconfirmed sources indicate that Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Eitan is expected to release a p’sak this week regarding kol isha in the military in light of this latest incident.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


7 COMMENTS

  1. Never could understand how ‘listening to a woman sing’ improves Military tactics.
    Ridiculous waste of time and against halacha to have these choral groups. Let the cadets out early to call home, take care of personal issues or just chill.

  2. The Zionist farce gets ever-more farcical.

    Straight Kol Isha with one woman singing alone…you have some students correctly refusing to apologize for upholding halacha by leaving and a Rosh Yeshiva who says that IDF guidelines are in line with the Torah. Does that mean 100% in line or 10% in line? Really? How sad.

    There is absolutely no reason to have female performers at a mandatory event. Even IF there were no guaranteed issur (though that would be a big chiddush), it’s still a bad idea and certainly is NOT in line with “Lo SIKRIVU ligalos Erva”.

    The kicker is, as someone commented on the original story, this would not happen in the US Army, in a de facto Christian nation, where they respect and accommodate religion yet are still able to have a loyal army. But that’s not on the agenda in a putatively Jewish State…because that is Zionism.

  3. HaKatan–You really are small. This has nothing to do with zionism. It has to do with an anti-religious commanding officer being stubborn when he was presented with a legitimate request from those under his command. The same thing could happen with different issues in the US Military.
    Why do you blast an ideological idea when it probably was not an ideological idea that was the root of the performance or the denial of the permission to leave during the inappropriate parts.
    You have problems with the military, I get it. You probably would be a draft dodger in the US too.

  4. #1- I’m not so sure about that, that wouldn’t be fair to those who aren’t allowed to “just chill” but they should definitely be allowed to take care of other duties.

  5. This is typical Israeli hypocrites I thought the Israeli policy is that when u do things for security reasons than there’s no need to apologize so that’s exactly why they walked out when women were singing for their own religious security

  6. It has to do with ignorance, discipline and egoism. The commander does not know what is Jewish law and therefore he believes that leaving the music hall is a lack of disipline which is important in an army, but upon hearing that this is indeed against Jewish law and at a non-essential army function it was indeed appropriate, the commander could withdraw his request for an apology but in doing so, he would loose face in the eyes of his superiors and soldiers.

    Therefore these righteous soldiers fall as Korbonot to the army commander’s foolishness and ignorance.

  7. #3- No, it wouldn’t. At least the commander would have been told off by his own superior if it had. The policy of the U.S. Military (and I’ve seen it enacted personally, unlike here) is “that requests for accommodation of religious practices should be approved by
    commanders when accommodation will not have an adverse impact on mission accomplishment,
    military readiness, unit cohesion, standards, or discipline.” (DoD Instruction 1300.17 Paragraph 4)

    If I can keep negiah with a female General without a problem, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to politely walk out. To be honest, they probably should have made prior arrangements not to be there in the first place, but if it was unannounced or something like that…

    I fail to see how listening (or not listening) to a concert of any sort would have an adverse impact on any of those.