Beit Hillel rabbi advises students not to enlist in mixed units

Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, head of Maaleh Gilboa Yeshiva and Beit Hillel rabbi will advise students not to serve in mixed combat units.

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Yoel Domb,

Rabbi Yehuda Gilad
Rabbi Yehuda Gilad
Ne'emanei Torah Ve'avodah

Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, the head of the Maaleh Gilboa yeshiva and a member of the liberal Orthodox Beit Hillel organization told Arutz Sheva that he would advise his students not to enlist in combat units where female combatants are also serving.

"If the rumours are true and the integration directive is to be changed (to include combat units) it will be difficult to maintain halakha within the framework of a mixed combat unit and I will find it difficult to encourage my students to serve in such units. It will force many people to go back to ghettos and we do not want that to happen."

Rabbi Gilad, who is the son-in-law of former Head of Har Etzion Hesder Yeshiva Rabbi Yehuda Amytal, emphasized his belief that women's participation in the IDF is halakhically permitted, a stance which is in direct opposition to the Chief Rabbinate.

"I do not encourage girls to serve in the IDF but if it is important to a girl, there is no prohibition on serving there and there is a halakhic permit. The rabbis of Beth Hillel are committed to halakha and therefore it is important that people who take decisions in the IDF will take stock as we all want the good of the IDF and the state of Israel."

Rabbi Gilad added that in combat units where men and women would serve together intensively it would not be right to include women, as physical contact would be inevitable. "In a tight space intimacy is much greater and it is impossible to avoid physical contact. If this (mixed combat units) will happen it will cause people to flee from these units and I will advise not serving in them."

"It is forbidden for men and women to be in a tank together. If they want to do this and there is a demand, they should make one company in every battalion a mixed company [for the secular]. There needs to be a balance between the value of promoting women's lib and other values since, otherwise, a large part of the public will feel obligated to forswear its values. We need communication in order to balance between the values of integration and other values, as originally established by Rabbi Ronsky. The present changes would not be democratic," concluded Rabbi Gilad.

Rabbi Gilad's statements come despite the fact that the Beit Hillel rabbinic organization has written a paper on why girls can serve in the army - a position which goes against that of the Chief Rabbinate from the establishment of the state.