Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfat and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, sharply criticized Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot over the mixed service directive, claiming it harmed the military service of religious and traditional soldiers.
"We don't want to fight the IDF," Rabbi Eliyahu said in an Arutz Sheva interview, "It's a shame that they are trying to educate us by way of the army -it won't work. Whoever has tried to educate the Jewish nation by creating a new culture for it has failed throughout history. Its a shame that the IDF is entering the dismal list of cultures that tried to 'educate' us."
The rabbi issued a clear message to the Chief of Staff. "Who appointed you [to change standing orders] ? Take stock, reassess. You have come in order to win and not to reeducate us. Let's defeat the Hamas. The Religious Zionist community is in a quandary, but you won't be able to exploit our love for the IDF [to reeducate us]."
In a recent interview with Army Radio, Rabbi Eliyahu also criticized female participation in the IDF. He described reports told to him first-hand of male and female soldiers who were busy with each other instead of with the military operation at hand.
"It's a situation which allows the IDF to become inefficient, " Rabbi Eliyahu explained. "The IDF needs to win its battles. We have enemies whose greatest desire is to throw us into the sea. We can't afford to play gender games when the danger is so great."