MK Elazar Stern
MK Elazar Stern Photo: Miriam Alster, Flash 90

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) spoke in an interview about coed IDF units, and expressed support for women and men serving in the same tank.

When asked if he opposes women serving in combat units, since he leads a modern religious lifestyle, Stern said, "Not only do I not oppose it, I think it is terrific. It's good for the army and for Israeli society. I don't buy the claim that it's not good for female soldiers to be in the same tank as male soldiers, because you could also say it's not good for them to be together in university or any other public place."

All Religious Zionist rabbis have panned the idea of putting male and female soldiers together in tanks for reasons of modesty, as there are no bathroom facilities in tanks, and for halakhic reasons as soldiers are alone in the closed armed vehicles for hours on end, day and night.

When asked what differentiates himself from Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), who also wears a knitted kippah, Stern said, "My focus is the nation of Israel, his focus is the Land of Israel. I don't see either democracy or Judaism as being more important than the other, for me, they are joined together."

"Also, since my mother survived Auschwitz, it's important to me that the Holocaust never happen again, and 'every person was created in G-d's image.' Meaning, don't differentiate between people."

Regarding whether or not Israel should evict Jews living in Judea and Samaria from their homes, Stern said he "is in favor of retaining the settlement blocs, but definitely supports a compromise."

"Our main job, and that of the Jewish Home, should have been Israel's Jewish identity. But they want to run the country, not to influence its Jewish identity."