Brigade commander talks with haredi soldiers on women's singing

Commander removes haredi soldiers during social event with women's singing, encourages them to maintain their way of life in the army.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

הharedi soldiers
הharedi soldiers
Yaakov Nahumi/ Flash 90

For the first time since the issue arose several years ago, the IDF accepted the halakhic problem of observant soldiers attending a female solo vocalist's performance and a senior army officer served as a "supervisor" for haredi soldiers who chose to participate in a ceremony that included women's singing Radio Kol Barama reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, last week a social evening was held for the combat soldiers of the Givati ​​Brigade. The event was organized at the request and initiative of the new brigade commander, Colonel Dado Bar-Kalifa, but there were debates on whether to allow the haredi “Tomer” unit to participate in the event, which was supposed to have included women's singing.

The issue first arose in the IDF several years ago when religious Zionist hesder soldiers asked to be excused from a female vocalist's performance and were refused by their commander, in contrast to what had been the practice previously.

Jewish law prohibits males from hearing the female singing voice, although there is leniency in the case of a choir, mixed singing group or recordings.

In the end, it was decided to ask the soldiers and allow anyone who did not want to attend the event to remain on base. Only 8 of the 100 haredi soldiers did not attend the event so as not to be exposed to women's singing.

The new commander did not want to expose his soldiers to a problematic situation according to Jewish law. At first, the idea was to seat the haredi soldiers in the back rows so that they could leave during the singing without causing any disturbance, but in the end the senior officer decided to hold a talk with the haredi soldiers at the time that the female soldiers sang in a mixed choir.

One of the haredi soldiers said, "We did not mind attending an event with women's singing, but suddenly we were told that we had to go with Bar Kalifa to a nearby synagogue, and I was annoyed personally because if I did not mind attending the ceremony, why is the army removing me when there’s women’s singing? "

In any event, Bar Khalifa told the soldiers about his past, told them that he was only recently exposed to the fact that there is a haredi company in Givati, ​​and urged them to maintain their way of life in the army as well.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office said in response that "the Tomer track, a recruiting track for haredi soldiers, implements a policy to which the IDF is committed with respect to those who enlist in the ranks of the track, according to which they will not participate in events where women's singing takes place.

"In the above case, and in light of the policy we undertook, and about which we are meticulous in our daily routine, in training, as well as in rallies and events, there was a separate and coordinated course of activity for the soldiers, with the participation of their commanders, which included, among other things, a conversation with the brigade commander."