IAF Chief Rabbi Ravad
IAF Chief Rabbi Ravad Yoni Kempinski

The Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier General Rafi Peretz, recommended Wednesday that the IAF remove its chief rabbi, Lt. Col. Rav Moshe Ravad, from his post after he resigned Tuesday from his role as coordinator of the Shachar Kachol project for hareidi-religious soldiers.

The recommendation follows a meeting to which Brig. Gen. Peretz had summoned Lt. Col. Ravad, in which Rav Peretz reportedly voiced his extreme displeasure with Rav Raabad's move.

In a letter he sent to IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and to the soldiers in the program, Rav Ravad said the reason for his decision to leave the project is a recent breach of the IDF commitment that the participants would not serve in a co-ed environment.  The Haaretz daily said it was due to the ruling on women's singing, forbidding soldiers to leave IDF events that include such performances.

MK Yochanan Plesner (Kadima) commended the Chief Military Rabbi's decision Wednesday. "In his public utterances," Plesner said, "Rav Ravad behaved like an ordinary politician, endangering the continued development of the Shachar programs that are the spearhead of hareidi engagement in the IDF and in the workforce." He added that the Shachar project would continue to expand with or without Rav Ravad, "in continuous dialogue between moderate hareidi rabbis and the IDF's commanders."