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Sep 20, 2011

The IDF, religious Soldiers And Female Singers, Continued

Back to the issue of religious soldiers having to deal with female singers, and the army having to deal with them... there are two interesting articles discussing the issue.

One is in Ynetnews. The columnist writes that the army should get rid of the army glee club (the military band). The religious soldiers are more important to Israel and to the army than some singers. While many have shown that they can sit there and ignore the singing instead of making a big deal, including the Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, that does not make it right. Religious soldiers compromise a lot in the name of danger and saving lives, and having to listen to female singers is not an issue they should have to compromise on. The army, the writer says, is no longer a secular army, and the religious soldiers should be considered in such affairs.

The one demeaning part of the article is where he writes "Religious Israelis are procreating and enlisting en masse, and we must take them into consideration.". That is particularly demeaning, the way he writes it. Besides for that it is an interesting perspective.

From Ynetnews:
The affair involving religious soldiers stepping out of a performance at their training base because of female singers is a classic clash of two extremities. Nothing good can come out of it, only a head-on collision. On the one hand we saw military cadets who decided to be more righteous than Israel’s chief rabbi, and on the other hand we saw commanders looking for mishaps.

There is no doubt that the commanders were right to dismiss the refusenik cadets, because the army is premised on discipline. However, now we should also consider the dismissal of the commanders who led us into this abyss.

Four of nine troops who left training base auditorium in protest of female soldier's performance dismissed from officers' course. Rabbi Drukman slams army's 'immoral decision'

Not too long ago I was at a national commemoration ceremony at Mount Herzl. Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was sitting in the first row. Suddenly, without advance warning, a female in uniform walked up to the microphone and started to sing. All eyes were on the rabbi – will he be stepping out now? Yet the honorable rabbi remained seated. He looked down, and that’s it.

This was very noble of the rabbi, and he was the only person to act nobly there. Ceremony organizers behaved foolishly by failing to spare him this embarrassment. They should have decided ahead of time what to give up: The female singer or the chief rabbi’s presence.

In the abovementioned case of the cadets and the female singer, there is no question who we should give up. The IDF requires combat soldiers more than it requires female singers. In the next war, the army will be sending Golani to the front, not a military band. And Golani today comprises numerous religious soldiers.

Secular arrogance
For a while now, the IDF has not been an army of seculars only. Religious Israelis are procreating and enlisting en masse, and we must take them into consideration. If the IDF is the people’s army, then it’s also the army of the religious.

Many intellectuals are still cultivating secular arrogance around here and treating the religious as subtenants. However, these intellectuals simply failed to look out of their window in recent years. Some 42% of officer course cadets are religious these days and we even have religious division commanders and a religious deputy army chief.

All of these religious soldiers will desecrate the Shabbat in case life is on the line, yet female singing is not such case. Neither is the singing of males, by the way.

The military’s cultural offerings must undergo a comprehensive reform that will adapt them to the sociological changes in the IDF. If we cannot avoid the friction between female voices and religious ears, perhaps we should be giving up our military bands. Former Army Chief Rafael Eitan already terminated them once upon a time; who was the idiot who brought them back?
The second article is one explaining why the Army Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz has not yet issued his ruling on how religious soldiers should behave in such situations. Last week he said he would consider the issue and make a ruling, yet until now he has failed to publicize his psak.

Srugim reports that he has not publicized his psak because he intends to rule in favor of the religious soldiers saying they should not be forced to remain and listen to female singers. The reason why he has not yet publicized his psak, why the Chief of Staff has not yet approved it, is because "the army is afraid of Haaretz".

The IDF is afraid to set policy it thinks is correct because of concern of what the reaction will be of Haaretz newspaper.

The country has turned to the right. The majority of Israelis are traditional and right wing. The IDF should not be afraid of a leftist and anti-religious newspaper. They should sideline the newspaper and show they are not concerned but will do what they decide to be right, even if it offends the sensibilities of Haaretz.

The other option is ignoring the sensibilities of most Israelis, the right wing and traditional Israeli, whether on this issue or on other issues. The army should be adopting the policies that fit with the people. If the army has decided that the time has come to respect the religious needs of the religious soldier, they should not be afraid of Haaretz.


  1. "Religious Israelis are procreating and enlisting en masse, and we must take them into consideration.".

    Shades of National Socialism's so-called "Final Solution".

  2. Procreating is probably a translation of "mitrabim" which doesn't quite have the same lab-rat reference.


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