Rabbi Moshe Rager
Rabbi Moshe RagerMiriam Amitai

Reserve Col. Rabbi Moshe Hager, head of the pre-army mechina in Beit Yatir, in a recent interview with Arutz Sheva, warned of the repercussions of integrating women into the Armored Corps.

"There are those who think women can be combat fighters on a par with men. This may be true in certain situations and with certain women, but in general, it’s not true at all."

According to Rabbi Hager, the presence of women in tanks will damage the cohesion of the units.

"They cannot lift heavy loads. If you want to check this out, then do a pilot program first. Women may be able to be pilots, but there is a difference between fighting as part of an individual unit of combat soldiers and fighting in a unit working in unison with a whole company and where you need more cohesion."

He also warned that the integration of women would harm the prestige of the force and reduce the number of male recruits.

"Reality has already proven that every mixed unit has suffered reduced recruitment of men. This is what happened in the Caracal mixed unit, for example. As soon as a unit becomes mixed, it’s prestige drops in the eyes of potential male recruits. This is the reality."

"The Armored Corps has been decisive in previous wars. It’s irresponsible to take this kind of risk. You don’t see any professional soccer coaches who support including women on their teams, and there you’re just talking about a game. Here you’re dealing with the fate of an entire country."

"This new order also affects the ability of the army to integrate religious soldiers. We in the National Religious Movement have a responsibility to influence senior officers in the army, the Chief of Staff and the commander of the Manpower Directorate so they understand these problems."

The recent proposal to integrate women into the Armored Corps is the latest in a series of moves the army has taken in recent years to integrate women into combat units. Rabbi Hager is one of a number of senior officers who oppose these moves and feel that it seriously damages the fighting ability of the army as well as resulting in many permanent injuries among the women soldiers.