This coming Saturday the Movement for a Jewish State will distribute a booklet on Jewish thought and guidance by the Har Hamor yeshiva Dean, Rabbi Tzvi Yisrael Tau.
The booklet, Self-destructive Phenomena in the IDF, will be distributed in 100,000 copies to synagogues across the country and deals with processes affecting Israeli society, particularly in the IDF.
In the introduction, the rabbi writes of Israel's current situation vis-a-vis the process of redemption. The rabbi notes that secular Zionist theory was based on the teachings of the writer Ahad Ha'am, who claimed that the concepts of faith, fear of G-d, and Torah have no true foothold in reality, but are survival mechanisms created by the Jewish people so that they could withstand exile. According to the rabbi, this theory was entrenched within the secular education system. He includes criticism of the religious education system, which is "trying to imitate and draw closer" to the secular education system.
Further on, the rabbi discusses elements who are attempting to obstruct the redemption process: "This is a relatively very small group of radical extreme leftists, who have set an explicit goal of uprooting what is holy from the hearts of the Jewish people. This is a closed society that has cleverly seized key positions in all places that influence public opinion, and is attempting to reshape the culture and norms of society." According to the rabbi, this group largely determines the composition of the Supreme Court and affects the media. The rabbi says the cadre's commandeering is done under the guise of enlightenment and democracy, "but is actually trampling democracy - freedom of religion and freedom of expression."
As part of the change affecting society Rabbi Tau notes, "Had you told us a few years ago that there would be a 'gay pride' parade in Jerusalem in which deviants march the city's street with their heads held high, we would not have believed it. This is, after all, the most grotesque deviation, which uproots family life and undermines the birthrate." Rabbi Tau goes on to say: "The academics and journalists have succeeded in purifying this impure thing by way of stressing the need to 'accept the other'. Today, anyone who says otherwise is considered out-of-date and treated as primitive and untouchable."
The rabbi discusses future expected "pride" parades. "I think that what we have seen so far is only the first steps towards shaping the future. If we are silent and acquiesce they will continue on - to destroy the whole concept of the family."
Continuing his analysis of the changes in the IDF, the rabbi states: "Unfortunately, the army has been given over to delinquent hands which promote exploitation of the military to change life in the country - the character of the culture, morality, conscience, and religion. They define the IDF's primary goal, above the value of victory over the enemy, as the creation of what they call 'advanced norms worthy of the human race', among them gender equality and gender integration."
According to Rabbi Tau, "This agenda is what is generating the destructive processes which are befalling the army, specifically in the area of young men and women serving together."
The rabbi continues by dissecting the current situation on the ground as a result of the joint service order: "There are pillbox positions at intersections in Judea and Samaria manned by two male soldiers and two female soldiers locked up for a protracted amount of time, and they sleep in double decker beds in the same room. These are ordinary people, not pious saints like Palti ben Laish who successfully overcame his desires" (Samuel II, 3:16).
The rabbi also discusses talk of integrating women into the armored corps: "Everyone knows the meaning of putting a female soldier in a tank. Four people in such a small space, as the tank advances, the passengers are thrown backwards and forwards and can not be kept from physical contact. This will lead to the most grievous misconduct, and people - non religious and religious - are the victims."
Rabbi Tau brings as evidence a report he received of a religious soldier in a pilot's course who stood on his halakhic principles in the face of his commanders and refused to meet face to face with a female sports instructor who was dressed immodestly. "The commander approached him and admonished him for insuling the instructor. The cadet was not intimidated, he looked the officer in the eye and said, 'I'm the one insulting her?! In the room behind the gymnasium, all the other soldiers are talking about her in a very ugly fashion, as if she's an object, and I'm the only one preserving her dignity, explaining to them that she is a kosher Daughter of Israel and she dresses and behaves this way only because she was expected to act that way in the name of civilization and progress'." The rabbi notes that the officer pardoned the soldier in light of this argument.
In the concluding section of Rabbi Tau's booklet, he writes: "To enact such dramatic moves it would have been expected of this trend's leaders, those with the praise of democracy ringing in their throats, to at least get the approval of the majority of the people. If you ask the parents of female soldiers whether they sent their daughters to the army to be treated this way, most of them would not agree." Rabbi Tau additionally describes those who are causing this situation: "They act without consent, as if they were a military junta that has seized power."
The rabbi discusses the process of serving in the IDF from the perspective of the religious soldier: "There are people in very important positions in the IDF, who, when the moment of truth comes and they are called upon to sacrifice their lives to uphold the Torah, a call tantamount to upholding the army and the state, will be unable to follow through - there will be rare individuals who will succeed. It will be very difficult for them to stand up to what poses as intelligence, modernity."
Rabbi Tau notes in his remarks that the fight is not over religious soldiers, but all IDF soldiers: "Attempts to impose on all persons serving in the army a different set of values ultimately destroys the base level of common humanity and therefore it is impossible to settle for special arrangements for religious soldiers. The problem is that the spirit and morality of the whole army are being destroyed."
The rabbi stresses that it is not true to say that there is an altered attitude towards the army: "The substantive attitude has not changed. We are loyal to the army with all our might, and precisely because of the trust we have in the army we will not surrender to the disease attacking it."
The rabbi ends by bringing up ways to grapple with the changes going on in the IDF, and points out that there are attempts to silence rabbis by meetings with the Chief of Staff who makes promises and does not keep them: "The only way is not be silent. To go to the people and inform them about what is happening. The people must decide whether they agree that top brass use military commands to establish public norms unrelated to military considerations and even detrimental to them."
According to Rabbi Tau, when the public understands they are being fooled, they will say "Enough! These things are abnormal," and to that end one must "go out unto the people - with parlor meetings, rallies, and conferences. The way to get to the people is not simple; the media will not help us with this and many rabbis prefer to remain silent."
The rabbi stresses in closing that while giving one's life for the people of Israel and military service is a very important thing, that does not mean that a soldier must comply with norms that are "symptoms of the disease": "It is prohibited for a soldier to accede, even if as a result his advancement is blocked or if he is sent to jail."
Rabbi Tau concludes: "Israel is a healthy nation and eventually it will overcome these noxious trends. Just as thanks to the decrees of Antiochus we merited Hanukkah and thanks to Haman's decrees our Sages established Purim, we will also merit that sages fix a victory feast for the battle over the purity of Israel."
See original Hebrew booklet here.