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Ultra-orthodox soldiers say will leave IDF over women singing

Haredi soldier warns: We’ll leave IDF over women’s singing
Following resignation of IAF rabbi over decision not to excuse religious soldiers from official events featuring women’s singing, ultra-Orthodox soldier says army ‘broke promises, we will follow Halacha’

Kobi Nahshoni, Ynet news

“We’ll find a way to get out of the IDF, because it has betrayed us,” an ultra-Orthodox soldier warned Wednesday after IAF Chief Rabbi Moshe Raved resigned from his post as head [of] a program which recruits haredim.

Raved’s resignation on Tuesday came a day after the army announced it would not excuse religious soldiers from official events that feature female soldiers singing.
The IDF said the recruitment program, known as Shahar, would not be shut down as a result of the rabbi’s resignation. An army official called the resignation “a coordinated move by elements within the ultra-Orthodox community.”

A source in the IDF Rabbinate said the program “is successful and recruits more and more haredim each year. It is a shame the rabbi chose to leave the project in this way, which created a negative buzz. We hope this won’t deter haredi candidates for recruitment.

“Haredi soldiers who are recruited through Shahar and those who serve in (Nahal Haredi) know they are provided with all the necessary conditions to preserve their faith and serve their country at the same time,” the source added.

However, a haredi soldier said in an interview with Kol Hai Radio, “If Rabbi Raved resigned, I will also leave the program. I’m certain others will do the same. The rabbi set an example, and if he (left), we’ll all find a way to get out of here (army), because the IDF has betrayed us.

“We were specifically told we would not have to attend ‘mixed’ events or listen to lectures given by women. Now these promises have been broken,” he continued to say. “We were yeshiva students who did not believe in the IDF, but we were convinced with all these promises that (army service) would not contradict the rabbis’ instructions. Now Major-General Orna Barbivai (head of the IDF’s Personnel Directorate) insists on speaking before haredi troops, despite all the promises.

“We feel humiliated and despised. The army does not want us,” the soldier added.

Addressing the army’s decision not to excuse religious soldiers from official events that feature women’s singing, the soldier said “clearly this will lead to insubordination because we are Orthodox, not reform soldiers. We will abide by the Halacha.”

He warned that the 2,000 Shahar soldiers “would prefer sitting in jail than hear women sing, because they know the Halacha forbids it.”

Yoav Zitun contributed to the report

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