Israel’s Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot briefed the cabinet on Sunday morning in an unusual security briefing. Among the statement’s made by Eizenkot he said: “The IDF has no intention of secularizing anyone. The service that is done by men and women serving in mixed units is a result of operational considerations. Our goal is to win in wartime.”
Eizenkot’s statements were the result of a groundswell campaign of Rabbis on the right-wing side of the modern orthodox spectrum who have recently chastised the Chief of Staff for allowing mixed units in the IDF.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim and the Chief Rabbi of the town of Beit El instructed a young man to refuse to serve if he were put into a mixed unit. According to Rabbi Aviner the man would be encouraged to serve once the problem was sorted out and he was placed in a non-mixed unit.
Chief Rabbi of Tzefat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu even went so far as to call for Eizenkot’s resignation due to his mishandling of this sensitive subject.
Eizenkot is currently attempting to smooth out the issue. Rabbi Aviner responded today to the Defense Minister’s decision to prevent him from appearing before soldiers and said that this attests to a positive trend with regards to the problem. “If they shut someone mouth so that he cannot speak, this is a sign that they have nothing intelligent and forthright t respond to him.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)