Insiders: IDF Keeps Chief Rabbi "Gagged"

IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz is being deliberately kept away from the media for fear he will say something controversial, IDF insiders said

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David Lev,

Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, does not give many interviews. But it's not his fault, a source in the IDF Rabbinate told Arutz Sheva; the army has, apparently as a policy, severely limited Rabbi Peretz's interaction with the media.

The story came to light after Arutz Sheva sought numerous times to arrange for an interview with Peretz, with all efforts unsuccessful. Sources in the Rabbinate said that they had been told to keep the Chief Rabbi out of the media, for fear that he will discuss matters of Jewish law that may “embarrass” the army. The sources did not specify what those issues were.

A source in the IDF Spokesperson's office confirmed the story, and sharply criticized the policy. “The people who made this decision are totally irreligious, and have no understanding of the dilemmas faced by observant soldiers, nor of the role of the IDF Chief Rabbi. They know nothing of Jewish law, and their sole intention is to sweep all issues under the rug and avoid 'collateral damage' to the IDF in the media, just in case Rabbi Peretz says something that will be taken out of context. Thus they keep him out of the media altogether,” the source said.

The source added that while the IDF was so keen on protecting its reputation regarding Rabbi Peretz, it was much less worried about other reputation-breakers – such as in a recent scandal where female soldiers released photos of themselves in very compromising positions, with the photos showing up on social media networks worldwide. That, the source said, was far more damaging than anything any rabbi could say. “It's time they woke up in the Spokesperson's Office to what really is damaging the IDF's reputation.”