IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Eyal Karim visited the Beit Shean Hesder Yeshiva about two weeks ago, at which time he told talmidim no soldier will be sent to serve in a gender-mixed unit without his approval.
Karim explained, “Just as the Chief Medical Officer may decide an officer cannot command Shayetet because he has a profile of 24, in light of the IDF Chief of Staff promise, I will be entitled to decide which soldiers cannot serve in mixed units for religious reasons.”
In his address of problems that have arisen in the past two years, Rabbi Karim stated, “also regarding one who combatants, he is simultaneously fighting a religious battle, a battle of Hashem and he does not just fight Hizbullah and Hamas.”
Rabbi Karim insists no religious soldiers or officers are compelled to serve in mixed units and no female soldiers are entering a tank. In addition, no officer has been compelled to serve as this is what the chief of staff promised me, and I believe this is okay”. He adds, “We don’t have a mandate to ask the chief of staff not to build such units. This way, he is freeing up Golani to begin training for the next round of real warfare.”
Rabbi Karim tried to calm talmidim, who were inquiring into modesty issues and problems including mixed service and combined sleeping quarters. Rabbi Karim explained these issues have been resolved. He adds however the problem is more complex in the non-combat units, where there are female clerks and instructors. He feels one reason the women are used as instructors is because the religious soldiers are uninterested in the job, preferring to be combat soldiers.
He added that Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev, a retired IDF colonel, told him that since the women began filling the slots of instructors, the level became much higher since the men were not interested in those positions. They Rabbi added that if the religious soldiers want to have truly kosher food in the army, they will also have to be willing to become mashgichim and not to leave it for another to do as is the case today.
When asked about why an exemplary officer like Brigadier-General Ofir Winter has to fight to move up the ladder of command, Rabbi Karim stated he does not feel there is religious discrimination, citing David Zini was appointed as a Division Commander and Mordechai Kahane and Ofir Buchris were both brigadier-generals in serious positions.
Kol Chai Radio on Monday, 11 Adar reported that they concluded their meeting with the singing of Ani Ma’amin before Hatikvah, eliciting the ire of the non-religious including Michaeli, who wants an explanation regarding the singing of Ani Ma’amin at the completion of a recent military ceremony, with Michaeli insisting it was an affront to the non-religious soldiers, some complaining they were quite offended.
Ani Ma’amin is regularly added to ceremonies in Nachal Chareidi but regular units only sing Hatikvah. The IDF Spokesman’s Office was quoted to be longer into the matter, according to the Kol Chai report.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)