'How will yeshiva students regard their wives?'

Rabbi Ben Zion Algazi outraged by words of Eli Machina's Rabbi Kellner on women, but condemns media persecution of religious Zionist rabbis.

Hezki Baruch - Mordechai Sones ,

Rabbi Ben Zion Algazi
Rabbi Ben Zion Algazi
Hezki Baruch

Tsurba Institute and Beit Midrash of the Ramat Gan hesder yeshiva head Rabbi Ben Zion Algazi today referred to the words of Rabbi Yosef Kellner of the pre-army mechina yeshiva in Eli who said, "Women are nothing today."

"I was outraged by what he said," says Rabbi Algazi in a conversation with Arutz Sheva. "To say women are spiritually deficient is not legitimate. Our Sages speak of women clearly as possessing a more sublime intellect. Apart from the fact that it's not true, it's not right from an educational viewpoint. You're talking to yeshiva students who are about to build homes; how will they regard their wives? How would they see women in the public arena? This isn't the way. Not spiritually or educationally."

Should rabbis then be silenced? "There's a certain sense of persecution against rabbis who make headlines with every word they utter," says Rabbi Algazi. "On the other hand, I also suggest that rabbis should think about the results of what they say and how people in the general public will understand their words. We're obligated to endear the people of Israel to the Torah. If his words may be misunderstood, a wise rabbi thinks first. The Beit Midrash or Rabbinical Forum is not the same as the public arena.

"This is not a matter of a rabbi's mistake or the media that inflates things, but rather it's about the need to act wisely, not just to be right. The polarization is so great, so we must say things that unify. This generation is much more challenging because of technology and we need to know how to bring the Torah with love and joy to the next generation."

Asked whether the religious Zionist public seems to be splitting into either haredi or non-observant extremes, or whether the majority is remaining in the center, Rabbi Algazi replies, "They (the media, ed.) like to show the extremists among the national religious public. In my opinion, most of the religious public is in the center, a high-quality group of people, who love the Torah and integrate into Israeli society.

"The great challenges today are how to connect the youth and the people of Israel to Torah and Halakha and there is no doubt that today it is much more difficult," adds Rabbi Algazi