Netzach Yehuda soldiers
Netzach Yehuda soldiersFlash 90

Religious soldiers contacted the Chief Rabbi of the IDF and the Public Inquiries Officer in the last few days due to women's singing planned at the Kfir Brigade rally to be held by the IDF next Thursday.

"Ahead of the Kfir Brigade's brigade rally, we - soldiers, their parents, and families, request not to force us to hear women's singing contrary to our beliefs, and to allow those interested to leave at the singing stage," the appeal reads.

The soldiers claim there is discrimination within the brigade between soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion who are exempt from the requirement to listen to women's singing, and the rest of the soldiers, despite the fact that most of the soldiers avoid women's singing for religious reasons. "In the Kfir Brigade of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, we (rightfully) receive full rights on this issue, and those of us who do not listen to women's singing are not supposed to experience religious discrimination on this issue. We adhere to this rule no less than any other soldier in Netzah Yehudah and ask for equal treatment in order to maintain our religious way of life according to Jewish religious law."

Rabbi Aviad Gadot, director of the Torat Lehima organization, told Israel National News: "Unfortunately, the IDF has determined that the religious conditions in the haredi track are different from other tracks in which observant soldiers serve. We call on the Chief Rabbi to deal with this discrimination so that every soldier can observe Jewish religious law in the IDF without coercion and without agendas. This is how a Jewish army should be."

An IDF spokesman responded: "The rally of the Kafir Brigade, which will take place on May 18, 2023, is a valuable and unifying event for all soldiers and commanders of the brigade. A military band with the participation of women and men will perform at the ceremony. In events of this type, the soldiers are required to participate, but the commanders have the option of allowing the soldiers to be released from the activity if there is a fear that their participation will harm their faith, their values or their religious way of life. Not a single request has been received by the Public Inquiries Officer or the Rabbi on this issue. The IDF cherishes and respects all of its personnel, regardless of religion, race or gender, and works to equalize rights for all of its personnel."