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IDF Rabbinate: Soldiers Must Accept Women's Singing

Top Rabbinate source says religious soldiers will be allowed to opt out of entertainment but not solemn events.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/29/2012, 8:26 PM

Soldier prays
Soldier prays
Flash 90


The IDF Chief of Staff and the Military Rabbinate will spell out the ground rules regarding the "women's singing" issue in the coming weeks. Religious soldiers will be allowed to opt out of entertainment ceremonies that involve women's singing, but will not be allowed to stay out of solemn events like memorial services, even if women sing on stage.

A senior officer in the Rabbinate told Arutz Sheva Sunday that in solemn events it is permissible to be less stringent, from a religious perspective, regarding the Halakhic ban on men's viewing women's singing. This decision, he said, was reached after consultation with "Torah greats" as well as Hesder yeshiva rabbis.

There is no "clear cut" Halakhic ban on listening to women's singing, he explained. Therefore it is permitted to show some laxity on the matter, because of "the sensitive situation" in the IDF. In addition, a "train" of soldiers who leave in the course of the ceremony might offend bereaved families. Another reason he cited was the need to maintain "the cohesion and camaraderie of the unit's soldiers."

On the other hand, the senior source said, soldiers will not need their commanding officer's consent to opt out of recreational and entertainment events that include women's singing. They will only need to inform the commander that they cannot participate because of Halakhic problems and can expect full backing from the Rabbinate.

The Hesder students who said that they do not intend to enlist to the IDF, the source said, "are youths with no sense of proportion who do not understand what a time of war is, and what proper integration is. This entire affair is a tempest in a teacup. The military is very much in tune and sensitive [to religious soldiers]."