Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu discussed the furor over the IDF's intention to integrate women to combat positions in the armored corps together with men.
Rabbi Eliyahu stated that the army is behaving complacently just like before the Yom Kippur war. "It is the duty of an army to fight and to be victorious. Twice already we paid a heavy price for the complacency and arrogance of our commanders. We suffered severely in the Yom Kippur war. Our students will not serve in tanks together with girls, period," said the Rabbi in an Army Radio interview this morning.
IDF spokesman Brigadier General Motti Almoz responded to the rabbi's words by saying that "I want to tell the Tzfat chief rabbi that these protests never help and here too they won't help. Note the fact that there were protests a few months ago about beards and about other issues. By saying 'G-d forbid it cannot happen', this does not mean that it won't happen.'"
Yesterday Brigadier General Kahalani, a Yom Kippur war hero, boldly presented his stance on the issue. In an interview with journalist Kalman Liebeskind on Galei Yisrael Radio, Kahalani said that: "I think at the end of the day, a woman's job is to be a mother, and after the traumas of war, she'll be completely different. The motherly feeling, the mother's touch, the ability to nurse and give birth, it won't be the same.
"When I was injured and burned, and I couldn't leave my tank, I screamed one word: Mommy!! There's only one mother to a child, and a girl who fights in a war will end up completely different [than a mother should be]," concluded Kahalani.
Kahalani is currently CEO of the Association for the Well-being of Israel's Soldiers (Ha'aguda Lema'an Hachayal). He has decorations from the Yom Kippur War where his battalion held off a Syrian force of 500 tanks, the Medal of Distinguished Service for service during the Six-Day War, where he was badly wounded when his M-48 Patton tank caught fire and a medal from the president for his contribution to Israel
Former IDF Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss also responded on the issue, stating that women in the Armored Corps sounded like a crazy idea no matter how you looked at it.
"If we put two people into a closed box, there's no way something won't happen," Rabbi Weiss said. "We can't put a couple, a man and a woman, a male soldier and a female soldier, into a closed box for a week and expect that nothing will happen. You'll get a little tank soldier in another nine months.
Reserve Major-General Yiftach Ron-Tal, formerly the commander of the IDF's ground forces, also fiercely criticized the decision to integrate female soldiers into the Armored Corps, saying those who push for it are out to weaken the IDF.
In an interview with Kalman Liebeskind on Galei Israel Radio, Ron-Tal said the decision to integrate women into the Armored Corps was a "scandal that will harm everything you can even think of, including the IDF's abilities to fight."