The IDF has disciplined First Sergeant Hadar Melamed after she called on IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim to be fired in a viral video for what she said were sexist comments.
Last week, The Female Combatants Forum, a group representing hundreds of female combat soldiers in the IDF, started an online petition calling on the government to fire rabbis who object to the IDF's efforts at integrating women into combat roles, although rabbis are not the only ones aginst the idea.
The group released a video titled 'This is what they think of us" in which female combat soldiers from the IDF's mixed-gender battalions read inflammatory statements about women from leading Religious Zionist rabbis, including Rabbi Yosef Kelner and Rabbi Yigal Levenstein of the Eli pre-military academy and IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim.
"Freedom of speech to say nonsense does not justify funding coming from our pockets," read the petition. "We sign this petition and call upon the rabbis we quoted to apologize for their humiliating attacks on women and IDF soldiers."
Melamed had appeared in the clip in uniform, leading the IDF to discipline her for criticizing Karim. The IDF said in a statement that Melamed was "tried and reprimanded for appearing in the video in question, violating orders".
The army's efforts to increase the prevalence of female combat soldiers has infuriated many Religious Zionist rabbis, who point to the spiritual challenges mixed gender units pose to religious troops and question - along with many military figures and ordinary citiznes - the operational wisdom behind the move.
Last month, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leading Religious Zionist rabbi, ruled that it is forbidden to serve in a combat unit with women and said that it was better to avoid serving in the IDF until there was better separation between the genders. "Either (serve in) a separate unit, or don't enlist for now. You cannot perform the mitzvah of serving in the army by committing a transgression," wrote Rabbi Aviner (quoting a Talmudic dictum about the inherent contradiction in keeping a commandment through committing a sin - such as stealing an animal to bring it as a Temple offering, ed.)