Retired Judge to Media: Use Common Sense Regarding Hareidim
Judge (ret.) Tzvi Tal said Thursday he was sorry to hear that IAF Chief Rabbi Rav Moshe Ravad had resigned from stewardship of a program for hareidi soldiers. "If it's true then it's too bad," he told Voice of Israel radio, "because it's a shame that a great effort that was made to bring hareidim into the army and the workforce will go down the drain."
Tal, who headed a committee that was charged with setting the ground rules for hareidi-secular relations, added: "I think this matter of women's singing is strange. No one forbids women's singing. There is a group that thinks that for religious reasons, it must not listen to women's singing. So why force it upon them? Why do the 'knights' of freedom of expression and the 'knights' of minority rights want to force this upon a minority?"
"With a little common sense, we can round off corners instead of sharpening them," he said. "A soldier who does not want to hear the singing can say that he needs to go to the restroom and he can be excused. The media incites and the public follows the media like a herd – until every small stupid thing that a private citizen does is discussed in the government cabinet session."
The interviewer asked him if it was not important that women be allowed to sing in the army. He sounded annoyed when he answered: "Who said that they must not sing? Let them sing until they are blue in the face. This reminds me of the Middle Ages when they forced Jews to listen to debates between Christian theologians. So the Jews came to the debates with earplugs. Why force a person to listen to singing if he does not want to? Why not use some common sense?"
"Let's say that another minority in the army says that it refuses to hear women's singing – the Druze or Circassians, for instance. Will anyone force it upon them? Does service in the IDF compel people to listen to singing? Service in the IDF demands self-sacrifice. And this, these soldiers are willing to give."
Tal told his interviewer directly that the press is responsible for the sorry situation by inciting and inflating the stories about individual hareidim's misbehavior. He asked the interviewer, as a member of the press, to "lower the flames" of incitement.