Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern sent a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot calling on him to reconsider the Joint Service Order in light of developments that occurred over the past year-and-a-half.
Rabbi Stern relates: "During this period, much time was spent in discussions and talks on the topic of 'joint service' during which I heard things that greatly saddened me."
In his letter, the Jerusalem Chief Rabbi cites three points that demand the Chie of Staff's intervention. Among other things, Rabbi Stern points out that a soldier in a mixed battalion where women also serve cannot keep the strictures of Jewish law. "He cannot in any way avoid things that are forbidden according to Jewish law, and this is contrary to his way of life and values."
"We are very sorry," writes Rabbi Stern, "to see how the biblical verse 'and your camp shall be holy' has been forgotten and how the army has acted in ways contrary to all principles of modesty."
The rabbi of Jerusalem also warned against a decline in the operational performance of mixed-gender units.
"It turns out that many [experts] argue that bringing female soldiers into combat units can hurt the army's ability to function professionally, and that's distressing.
"I respectfully request that you reevaluate the issue, taking into consideration my words and the words of all those who turn to you on this subject. It is important that you know that words coming from the heart are said out of love but also out of great anxiety," stresses Rabbi Stern at the end of his letter.