MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) denounced Tuesday the yeshiva students who signed a petition declaring they will not enlist to the IDF if it continues attempts to force religious soldiers to disobey halakhah, an example of which is an order to attend performances with female singers.
By signing the petition, they signed "an ideological distancing order from religious Zionism," he said, although the students wrote that they consider serving their country a right as well as a duty.
"The ideological approach of the extremist minority in religious Zionism, which places the military orders regarding women's singing in confrontation with the supreme Jewish value of unity and service of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, is both anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish," he claimed. The students wrote the opposite, that it is the IDF that has created the confrontation, and can avoid it by allowing for individual religious stringency on non-essential, non-combat issues.
Schneller said that the signatories were "babes in the woods" who had been influenced by "hareidi rabbis who infiltrated the ranks of religious Zionism." Schneller is inadvertently actually proving the hareidi opinion that one has to compromise on religious observance to be an IDF soldier, an opinion which halakhic books by religious Zionist rabbis, ruling on the myriad of halakhic problems that arise during army service, show to be false - until the IDF decided to use coercion with regard to the singing issue.
Jewish Home Chairman, Minister Daniel Hershkovitz, called the petition "a complete educational failure and a victory for the hareidi and anti-Zionist approach. One can understand and respect the will of soldiers to avoid women's singing in entertainment events, but it is inexcusable to challenge the IDF and make light of the values of Judaism and religious Zionism."
In contrast, Hareidi MK Mishe Gafni (UTJ) has called on hareidim not to join the IDF because of the attempts to force soldiers to disobey halakhah. Religious Zionist Rabbi Elyakim Levanon has called upon soldiers to refuse to disobey halakhah, even if subject to severe punishment.