The IDF seems to want to hide its Chief Rabbi, Brig.-Gen. Avichai Ronsky, forbidding him to appear at a Knesset ceremony marking one year since Operation Cast Lead.
The ceremony took place on Monday, with the participation of IDF officers in the reserves, ministers, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, Knesset Members and rabbis. Organizers of the ceremony said they could not understand why Rabbi Ronsky was not there, and asked, “Is someone trying to marginalize the Chief Rabbi?”
The incident did not come in a vacuum. Rabbi Ronsky has been attacked in recent months for stating that Jewish Law does not authorize women to serve in the army, and for writing a private letter – that was leaked to the media – protesting a series in the IDF weekly journal on homosexuals.
Rabbi Ronsky has also been under fire, especially in the Haaretz newspaper, for his remarks in favor of integrating Jewish spirit in the IDF ranks. For instance, a month ago he spoke at a commemoration for fallen soldier Yossi Fink in Karnei Shomron, and said: “Battle situations place soldiers in illogical situations in which they must fight even though they face the danger of death; the spiritual resources and strengths of our soldiers are what help them defeat the enemy.”
Rabbi Ronsky also responded to some of the weighty accusations against the IDF during the anti-terrorist Cast Lead operation in Gaza: “The IDF operated as in a war, not as in a little skirmish or an operation to arrest terrorists… First there was a large attack with 80 planes bombing various locations, followed by artillery fire and tanks, and so on, just like in war. Everyone fought with all his heart and soul – this includes courage, of course, but also warfare utilizing all your means. It was fighting in order to really win the war.”
Arutz-7 reported this past September that Rabbi Ronsky’s letter against the homosexual series had been written three months earlier and was leaked by “certain interested parties” in the army, just a few days after the double murder in a homosexual club, for the purpose of smearing the rabbi’s name.
An unnamed army rabbi said at the time, “It would have been appropriate to investigate who exactly leaked this sensitive letter, which was purposely addressed to only three people. The question is, of course, 'Who caused the offense to the homosexuals? The Chief Rabbi who tried to express a quiet and gentle protest, or those who leaked the letter purposely with the objective of harming the Chief Rabbi and bolstering their own public standing at the expense of the homosexuals?'”