Tzipi Livni
Tzipi LivniIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) claimed on Thursday that there is a connection between the recent incident involving women’s singing in the IDF and the riot earlier this week in the IDF’s Ephraim base.

Livni, who spoke at a rally in Herzliya against the exclusion of women, said, “If anyone thinks that throwing a brick at the deputy commander [of the Ephraim base] had nothing to do with the exclusion of women, he is wrong.”

She added, “It’s part of the wave that is threatening to wash Israel away. Some target women, some target the courts to give more powers to certain rabbis – rabbis who send people to burn mosques and publicly call to disobey the law. We do not agree to this kind of Israel and we will change it.”

Her comments seem to suggest that rabbis are encouraging violence against IDF commanders or the exclusion of women.

However, Monday night’s incident in which some 50 angry youth invaded the Ephraim Brigade headquarters in Samaria and clashed with the soldiers stationed there, has been overwhelmingly condemned by community leaders and rabbis in Judea and Samaria who described the riot as "shameful and disgraceful."

In the case of women’s singing in the IDF, two soldiers who were members of a unit of religious soldiers, had been led to understand that an arrangement was made in which they would be able to bypass the part of an official IDF ceremony in which a live performance of a female soldier was held. Instead, the soldiers were forced by their commander to sit through it.

Both elected to directly disobey their commander's direct order to remain at the ceremony in which the female singer was performing, a situation which posed a serious dilemma for the Torah-observant young men. 

It is prohibited by Torah law for a Jewish man to be present when a woman other than his wife is singing in person, due to the fact that a woman's voice is considered a powerful, and even potentially seductive instrument. However, in this case too, the nation’s rabbis have emphasized that there are many different ways to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all parties involved, without soldiers having to disobey orders.

Livni conclude her remarks by saying, “Together we will fight the war of the State of Israel and Zionism. The struggle over Israel, the future of our children and grandchildren begins here tonight. And there is a struggle. I'm excited about what you are doing and when there is a war - no one can stay at home.”