'The Chief of Staff has declared war on the Torah world'

Religious Zionist rabbis says IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot lied, crossed a red line in forcing religious soldiers to serve with women.

Uzi Baruch ,

Gadi Eizenkot
Gadi Eizenkot
IDF Spokesman

A group of senior religious Zionist rabbis criticized IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot over the policy of integrating men and women into the same units in the IDF and forcing them them to serve together.

The rabbis said that soldiers in the IDF's Julius base in southern Israel were recently surprised to discover one day that the base had become the site of mixed service between men and women. They turned to their commanding officers and were informed that new orders stipulated that all activities on the base be mixed.

The soldiers complained about the new orders, as did air force pilots on the base.

A senior religious Zionist rabbi told Arutz Sheva: "Eizenkot has been deceiving the IDF chaplains and the religious Zionist rabbis for a long time. In closed discussions, Eizenkot has said that he is very afraid that religious soldiers seek to change the spirit of the IDF, and he has therefore decided to respond to this phenomenon and try to put a stop to it now."

It is possible to argue that turning all units on a base to mixed gender service also changes the spirit of the IDF, which agreed to conditions for the service of religious soldiers when the hesder yeshivas were first established.

The rabbi added: "The Chief of Staff has declared war on the world of Torah. We will sit together and decide how to deal with this new conduct of Eizenkot, which threatens to harm thousands of religious and traditional soldiers."

Three months ago, the Chief of Staff called in Rabbi Haim Druckman, one of the leading religious Zionist rabbis, and promised to re-examine the joint service orders which increased the integration of men and women in the same units in the IDF. The CoS has decided to give in to feminist pressure instead of respecting the rights of religious soldiers.

"This is a red line and there has been a clear statement by all rabbis in Israel against this order," the rabbi warned.

Under the new orders, religious soldiers have the option to request to not serve in a mixed unit. Religious officers do not have that option.

An IDF Spokesperson replied to this article: "These are fake arguments which seek to divide the army and belittle women who serve in it. The quotes attributed to the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, are without any foundation."

The spokesperson claimed that Eizenkot is in constant contact with religious Zionist leaders and rabbis. Today's rabbinic meeting suggests that the group is not a representative one, especially since the heads of the hesder yeshivas are vehemently against mixed gender units.