January 4, 2012
Military rabbi resigns haredi recruitment post
The chief rabbi of the Israeli Air Force has resigned from a program that recruits haredi Orthodox men over the issue of female soldiers singing at events.
Rabbi Moshe Ravad said in his resignation letter from the Shahar program that “in light of the current situation I cannot see myself being a part of the program as a rabbi and an adviser.”
The Israel Defense Forces announced Monday that its soldiers will not be excused from official military ceremonies at which women sing, but can request permission to be absent from performances by females during cultural and private unit events.
Ravad wrote in his letter, “The main argument I’ve always relied on was the fact that I could allow haredi men who enlist to maintain an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle and observe their faith. During recent months, the Personnel Directorate decided to reevaluate the rules. The most recent draft I read had omitted clauses that were intended to protect the beliefs of God-fearing soldiers. Under the current circumstances, I can’t be a part of the program as a rabbi or a consultant.”
Ravad, who has resigned from the recruitment program but not from his chief rabbi position, is set to retire from the IDF this summer.
Some 2,000 Orthodox soldiers have been recruited through the Shahar program, according to Ynet.
Following a meeting Wednesday with Ravad, Chief Military Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz recommended to dismiss Raved from the military over the resignation.