Taking a break from its regular articles condemning the IDF Chief Rabbinate, accusing it of “brainwashing” members of the military and exceeding its authority by infringing on the role of the IDF Education Branch, the daily Haaretz has now turned the focus of its attacks on frum soldiers.
The Haaretz report cites that about 100 soldiers and officers left official military ceremonies to avoid hearing women sing, outraged at the insubordination of the shomer Shabbat soldiers who dare to act on their own will and turn their backs on official military events. The most recent case, which prompted the report, was a recent ceremony in Haifa in which a paratroop brigade marked its participation in Operation Cast Lead.
The newspaper warns of the growing number of the dati leumi and hesder soldiers and even officers, stating the current situation of leaving an official ceremony is intolerable and soldiers may not be permitted to decide to act on their own to prevent hearing women sing. The major ‘problem’ drew comment from the military’s chief education officer, Brigadier-General Eli Shermeister, who called the trend a “worrisome phenomenon” that “should not be accorded continued legitimacy”.
The newspaper even reports the startling news that another brigade recently canceled planned appearances by female singers as two frum battalion commanders explained if the females sing, they cannot attend. The report states the “problem” is widespread.
It should be pointed out that the frum soldiers acted respectfully, and quietly left ceremonies to avoid transgressing halacha, without shouts of protest or any act that might be interpreted as disrespectful.
There is also a growing demand from the sizable Shomer Shabbat community in the IDF, calling for ceremonies in accordance to halacha. Unfortunately, the Haaretz report is somewhat twisted and the headline which reads “soldiers leave military ceremonies to avoid women’s singing” perhaps should have read “IDF fails to adhere to halachic guidelines in official ceremonies, compelling soldiers to leave”.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)