Jan 12, 2014

Lapid threatens to fire Chief Rabbis over statement

Minister of Finance Yair Lapid has turned back history by threatening to do everything in his power to have the 2 current Chief Rabbis fired - Rabbis Dovid Lau and Yitzchak Yosef. Why? Because they both expressed their opinion that females should not be drafted into the IDF.

In 1949 the law was passed obligating women to be drafted into the Israeli army. Israel was the first country to have a mandatory draft for women. The issue led to an acrimonious fight through the next few years between the government and the religious groups especially the haredim but also the dati leumi, which led to the formation of sherut leumi and also to the right of religious women to acquire an exemption from service on the basis of religion.

Upon the recent statement by the current chief rabbis, which came as a result of a halachic discussion due to an increasing trend of religious women joining the army for full service, Lapid threatened to fire them. Lapid said that it is a chutzpa and a scandal and he will work to get them  fired... they are State  employees making a nice salary from the State, sitting in comfortable offices, with cars at their service, and saying they do not agree with women serving in the mud and cold... "Dovid Lau and Yitzchak Yosef are not fit to serve any longer as Chief Rabbis."

As a matter of fact, Rabbi Lau has served in the army and continues to serve in the army reserves (at least he did until he was appointed Chief Rabbi). I am not aware of Rabbi Yosef having served in the army. Yair Lapid served in the army in the Armored Corps, but after an asthma attack he was moved to serve as a writer for the army newspaper. Even morally I am not sure he has the right to talk about their offices and comfort vis-a-vis the service of the women. Some people serve in less comfort and some serve in relatively more comfort.

Being a state employee does not obligate a person to toe any specific line. Yair lapid is a State employee just like they are. Lapid too makes a nice salary and has a car at his service. He too sits in a nice office. So do all the ministers and MKs and many others. The Chief Rabbis should not be obligated to change their minds just to fit the government position, or Lapids.

The Chief Rabbis have the obligation to state the halacha as they determine it, and almost all rabbis, if not all of them, are in, and have been in, agreement with the position stated by the current chief rabbis. What they said was nothing new and has been the historical position of the rabbinate. But according to Lapid not only do they not have the right to say anything against what he thinks, after all the government has accepted the rabbinates position and has allowed women the out if they want it, they must be fired for doing so.

Ironically, a former student of Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Peron, from Lapid's Yesh Atid party, found and publicized a statement made by Rabbi Peron from his days as an educator in which he said that no rabbi has ever permitted army service for women.

This type of behavior is unacceptable from someone in such a senior position of government.

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  1. Lapid. Rabbis. Duh.

  2. anonymous,
    i glad you could share that intelligent, enlightening and informative comment with us all.

  3. Rafi,
    Are you aware if Lipman has condemned these outrageous statements?

  4. I am not aware of any condemnation or other statement by D Lipman on this issue.

  5. I call on him to condemn this terrible act by his party leader. If not, he is obviously agreeing with him. The silence is defeaning

  6. I think your conclusion is correct, but I also believe that you are guilty of the crime of making sense.


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