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Daily Israel Report

Chief IDF Rabbi: No Exclusion of Women in the IDF

IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz: We, who know about the importance of honoring women, must ensure that this debate does not enter our ranks.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/2/2012, 9:05 AM

The IDF’s Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier General Rabbi Rafi Peretz, convened on Sunday all the military rabbis for a special meeting following the recent media fury over "exclusion of women" in the IDF. The meeting was convened following an order by Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

During the meeting, Rabbi Peretz clarified that “there will be no exclusion of women in the IDF. We who know about the importance of honoring women must ensure that this debate does not enter our ranks.”

Rabbi Peretz told his colleagues about recent phone calls he received from secular friends, after recent incidents of exclusion of women.

“I heard, with tears in my eyes, secular friends of mine who called me and said, ‘You have no idea how much... and I don’t even want to say those strong words... we hate!’ and I thought to myself, ‘Where are we?’”

He added, “We, in this role, are going to take responsibility. To be there. To help commanders assess the situation. To assist the male soldiers. To assist the female soldiers. There is no privilege in the IDF of hurting the internal unity. There is none. There is no such thing. It makes me horrified just to look at history and think where this could lead to.”

Rabbi Peretz reiterated that the goal of the Military Rabbinate is to take responsibility for everyone in the IDF.

“The first thing we wrote in our vision is that we are everybody’s rabbis. We are not rabbis of the religious. We’re everybody’s rabbinate,” he said.