Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed Aryeh Minkov

The Dean of Bet El Yeshiva, Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, a senior rabbinic figure in the Religious Zionist community, sent a letter to Knesset Members in response to the publication of the "mixed gender directive"- a directive which the respected rabbi asserts harms religious soldiers serving in the IDF.

"The goal of the directive is to mix male and female soldiers during their army service in a way which harms the traditional and religious soldiers and weakens the IDF's ability to deal with the challenges facing it," said Rabbi Melamed.

The full text of the letter reads as follows:

"The mixed gender directive which the Chief of Staff is promoting in the IDF is designed to phase out the segregated units for males and females so that only religious soldiers will be allowed to serve in segregated units. The implication of the directive is that from now on religious people should go into a ghetto within the army.

"On the other hand, those who are non-religious will be forced to serve in mixed gender units. The meaning of this is the destruction of modesty in the army, which is one of the unique attributes of the Jewish nation. The new spirit in the IDF is in direct contravention of the Torah's spirit.

"Most IDF soldiers are religious or traditional. Who gave the Chief of Staff the right to harm the fundamental values of most of the soldiers?

"Under the guise of gender equality and military considerations, the Chief of Staff is implementing a procedure diametrically opposed to the Torah in the army and all of this is being done forcibly and by law. The army will force soldiers, by means of military orders, to serve in mixed-gender units in direct opposition to their values and to their sense of modesty.

"The mixed gender directive stems from an outlook which is unacceptable to most of the religious and traditional public and the Chief of Staff had no right to impose his outlook on the army.

"We are therefore turning to you as a member of Knesset to act together with all of the religious members of Knesset to abolish this directive and to allow every soldier to serve in a segregated unit according to his own value system."

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