Feb 28, 2018

rabbis on women in combat units

The issue of women serving in the IDF has been a hot one for a long time. Back in the days of the Chazon Ish it was a hot topic and one that caused much friction and tension. After the agreement back then it went quiet for a while, but not it has gotten hot again as more and more women choose to serve, as more and more combat units are integrated with females, and again as the method of exemption for religious female soldiers is revisited.

The various rabbonim have pretty much all weighed in saying that women should not be drafted and not to combat units and about how bad such a thing would be from a religious perspective.

While others disagree, I have no problem with rabbis stating their opinion on this matter. I consider it part of the job of a rabbi to weigh in on spiritual issues, even including the issues of the IDF. That does not mean the IDF or the government has to agree or listen, but I think they have the right to speak up and voice opinions and how they define the relevant halachot.

That being said, Rav Aryeh Stern, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, just spoke up about the issue informing the Chief of Staff that integrating women into combat units is not just a religious issue but would also harm the fighting capabilities of the IDF (source: Srugim).

I think Rabbi Stern has the right to, and even the obligation to, speak up about the various relevant religious issues involved with women fighting. I do not think it is his place to talk about the professional capabilities of the IDF and the effect on those abilities by integrating women into mixed combat units. Leave the professional concerns to the relevant professionals. They know what does and does not harm or improve the fighting capabilities from a professional perspective. I think having the rabbis get involved in that part of the discussion only makes their relevant opinions and arguments (ie those regarding the halachic and religious issues) less effective.

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  1. Excuse me, but the Rabbi has the obligation to speak, especially a leading rabbi and scholar, needs to speak of the insanity of having women in combat! Even others, i.e., athiests, leftists, rationalissts, etc. are already giving in to the nonsense and lack of common sense to this matter. If they need science to prove it, well, it does! This mishagas is part of the new 'feminist' agenda of the sitra achra; it's as plain as that!
    Yasher Koach to Rabbi Stern!

  2. the rabbi should speak about the religious issues involved, but the professional considerations should be left to the professionals. The rabbis opinion regarding the quality of the fighting is irrelevant and probably not based on any real information. From a professional standpoint his opinion is no more important or informed than yours or mine. From the religious perspective his opinion is important.

  3. Unless all the professional military are cowed by political correctness, that is.

  4. that's a separate problem (and it does not get resolved in this way)

  5. the leadership of the IDF are essentially politicians in uniform. as such their opinion on professional questions carry no more weight than that of any other well informed person. as a chief rabbi of a major city (also a political position), r' stern has the right to present political as well as religious opinions. besides which, the ramatcal himself has admitted that the units that integrate women are not capable of being front line units, so it seems that everyone agrees on the realities of the situation, and now it is simply a question of values and priorities.


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