Rabbi Eli Sadan, head of Eli paramilitary academy
Rabbi Eli Sadan, head of Eli paramilitary academyJonathan Sindel, Flash 90

The director-general of the Defense Ministry, General Udi Adam sent a letter to the heads of the Eli mechina (pre-military) yeshiva, ordering them to attend a hearing. The letter stated that the Defense Minister intends to remove the Eli mechina from the list of recognized hesder yeshivot [yeshivot which have a 5 year program in which they legally defer army service for two years for religious studies] unless Rabbi Yigal Levinstein's employment as a teacher and educator there is terminated.

In matter of fact, the yeshiva at Eli has a small number of students in the hesder program, while most of its students are in the mechina (preparatory) one-year program which defers the draft for that period of time. Mechina students do regular army service after their one year of studies, while hesder students do a shorter stint, become reservists and return to yeshiva.

The hearing will take place on Thursday next week.

Adam wrote that "the acrimonious and continued recriminations by Rabbi Levinstein against women serving in the IDF and other sectors serving in the army cause great harm to the IDF and those serving in it as well as harming IDF values, the authority of the officers and the cohesiveness of the army."

"Rabbi Levinstein's inclusion among the staff of the yeshiva raises the concern that the students in the yeshiva who are also soldiers serving in the IDF are exposed to the above views which harm the goals of the studies in an institution which is supposed to educate to a full and significant service in the IDF and to respect for the IDF military commanders and those serving in it."

Adam added that Rabbi Levinstein's statements should not have been made to students in a hesder yeshiva or pre-army academy, both from the point of view of their content and their style of presentation. He referred to a conversation he had with Rabbi Levinstein after he termed LGBT as "deviants" and complained that Rabbi Levinstein was continuing his controversial statements.

Adam also said that Liberman intends to cancel the unique status of Eli as opposed to other paramilitary academies. At present Eli has no restriction on the number of army deferrals within its institutions whereas other acadamies maintain a specific number of deferrals and Liberman believes this harms equality within the pre-army frameworks.

The yeshiva at Eli is known for its high number of students volunteering for combat units, the large number of soldiers who remain to become IDF combat officers, and, sadly, a large number of fallen soldiers, including Roi Klein, who jumped on a grenade in Lebanon to save the soldiers under his command. He left a wife and three young children.