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September 12, 2011

Rabbis To IDF: Find A Way To Let Our Soldiers Not Hear Women Sing

Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger cropped Israel's chief rabbis have called on IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to find a solution which would allow religious soldiers to avoid listening to women sing without being forced to disobey their commanders' orders.

Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger cropped
Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar (left) and Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger (right)

Rabbis to IDF: Solve women's singing issue
In traditional meeting ahead of High Holidays, Israel's chief rabbis urge army chief to let religious soldiers avoid listening to women sing without being forced to disobey orders. They also condemn 'price tag' incident at IDF base
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet

Israel's chief rabbis have called on IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to find a solution which would allow religious soldiers to avoid listening to women sing without being forced to disobey their commanders' orders.

During a meeting held Sunday at the Chief Rabbinate office, Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar told Lieutenant-General Gantz that they expected commanders to let every soldier leave a military event which includes women's singing, if listening to it contradicts his religious belief.

The three sat down for the traditional meeting between the chief rabbis and IDF chief, held every year before the High Holidays. Gantz briefed Amar and Metzger on the security challenges the army is dealing with, and stated that the IDF would accomplish all of its missions on all fronts as long as the people of Israel remain united.

The rabbis responded by saying that they would do all in their power to maintain such unity, but that they expected the army to do the same.

The army chief agreed that the clash between commands and Halacha required a solution, and said he planned to discuss the issue with Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz.

At the end of the meeting, the rabbis gave Gantz a shofar and wished him a happy new year. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the "price tag" incident against IDF forces in Judea and Samaria last week, noting that "this is not the way of tradition and the Jewish religion."

Gantz gave the rabbis a silver-made pomegranate.

High Court to discuss dismissal?

The row over women's singing in the army made headlines last week following an incident which took place at an officers' course in an IDF training base. Nine religious cadets who walked out of a military event as a female soldier began singing solo.

Four of the nine cadets were dismissed on Thursday, while the remaining five will continue the course after managing to convince the committee that the move had not been preplanned.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel threatened to petition the High Court of Justice following the dismissal. The Forum's representative, Attorney Yitzhak Bam, sent a letter to Gantz and to Chief Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit, claiming that "the right of every soldier, cadet and officer to maintain his religious belief is one of the foundations of a democratic society."

The letter also claimed that the commander's response to the cadets' conduct 'cause unbearable damage to the soldiers' faith which has a disastrous meaning."

However, the Chief of Staff's office has a slightly different version of what happened:

IDF chief: Religious soldiers not exempt from events where women perform
Israel's chief rabbis raised issue after four cadets dismissed from course after leaving evening activity featuring chorus that included women.
By Anshel Pfeffer and Yair Ettinger • Ha’aretz

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz on Sunday refused the request of Israel’s chief rabbis to exempt religious soldiers from participating in army ceremonies in which female singers perform.

Gantz made the remarks to Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger at their offices in Jerusalem after four cadets were dismissed from a course after leaving an evening activity featuring an army chorus that included women.

When the rabbis brought the issue up with Gantz and urged him to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring, by granting exemption to religious soldiers from attending these types of events, Gantz said that he was “reviewing the matter”, but refused their proposal and told the rabbis that in Israel “there is a responsibility to ensure the unity of the people”.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Amar told the Chief of Staff that soldiers must be permitted to leave “in a dignified manner” events in which women perform, without it being considered the refusal of a military order.

Amar said that he discussed the issue with “important people who care about the army”, who explained to him the complex dilemma facing religious soldiers and the worry that because of this issue “the IDF is likely to lose good people”.

Amar told Gantz that even if women cannot be prevented from performing at public IDF events, at the least the soldiers’ freedom to leave the auditorium because it contradicts their religious sensibilities should be respected. Amar said that Gantz promised to find a solution to the problem.

Sources close to the Chief of Staff responded angrily on Sunday after sources close to the Chief Rabbinate announced after the meeting that Gantz was willing to consider the Rabbis’ proposal. “The Chief of Staff backed up the unit’s commanders and other commanders that were insistent that all soldiers take part in their unit’s [recreational] activities,” they said.

One issue that the Chief of Staff and the Chief Rabbis did agree on was the unequivocal condemnation of the recent “price tag” terror actions that West Bank settlers perpetrated against Palestinians and even sabotage on IDF bases and equipment last week.

Comments

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I disagree with Rabbi Yona Metzger and Rabbi Shlomo Amar on this point. Why ? Because the IDF is such a vital organ of the state certain philosophies and principles should be adhered to. The overarching philosophy and plan for the Jewish people is the superset to the IDF's orientation. Philosophy first. Public policy second.

I also think the good Rabbis are trying to appease their religious base and are attempting a bit of mediation and peacemaking which is honourable. But sometimes you need to just completely shift to a different position quickly. Equivocation like fence sitting can be painful. Like a pregnancy that is over term, things need to be induced decisively to usher in a new paradigm.

Also I can't for the life of me find any immodesty or darkness in the idea that a woman would sing a nice song in a spirit of spiritual uplift in a mixed group. There are female opera singers no ?

I am sure that King David would have listened to female singers, as Moses would have done so in the Sinai under the stars. What a drab, austere world we will have if men and women can't enjoy certain things together.

P.S. I have commented elsewhere on FM about the danger of corruption of certain command and control structures, and for brevity sake will not repeat myself here. I shouldn't clutter up the FM pages or else I'll get in trouble from Shmarya and be banished to the badlands of cyberspace.

Adam,
Actually in the desert, after the splitting of the Sea we find that Miriam the Prophetess led the women in separate singing. Your poetic conjecture about Moses and King David is utter rubbish.
As an aside, for the life of me I can't figure out why they can't allow the religious soldiers to respectfully walk out if a female is singing? You may disagree with the halacha, but if that is their sensitivity then respect it! You would respect halal if you had an arab soldier, or the careful diet of a vegan so why not this halacha?
The IDF has to make up its mind, if you want religious soldiers to join respect their halacha, if not then don't use it as a political linchpin.

Adam,
what a drab and austere world if...
orgies are prohibited
crab is off limits
you can't feed your enemies to a lion
etc

Why not give them standard issue army earplugs?

Instead of the IDF focusing on finding a way for supposedly frunma soldiers to be prevented from hearing women singing, I wish they would focus on finding a way for supposedly frumma people to fight.

The frumma in the above picture - presuming they will ever be another movie in the Star Wars franchise - could they be used in the next bar scene? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UAGfC0Ktb5Q

Yes! I think they could!

Posted by: ultra haredi lite | September 12, 2011 at 07:33 AM

did the Torah say and or command how far the men had to stay so not to listen to the woman. Did the Torah say their that it was auusur to listen to the woman sing, no. Did the Torah say the men ran away not to here kol isha no?

therefore one can assume that the men just looked om and enjoyed the show.

Of course one can infer whatever one wants since we see do not cook a calf with the milk of its mother somehow means to separate dishes

I think we must call the frummas bluff otherwise the yeshiva boys will just have another lame excuse why they do not join the army

instead of facing the real reason, they are scared
wimpy, and do not want to get hurt

Ok, Chief Rabbi Amar and Chief Rabbi Metzger are lying. Why this suppose to be news for anybody? We all have seen them shamelessly and publicly dozen of times before.

Ok, Chief Rabbi Amar and Chief Rabbi Metzger are lying. Why this suppose to be news for anybody? We all have seen them doing it shamelessly and publicly dozen of times before.

Cut out the women's tongues or cut the ears off the soldiers heads. Lovely Rabbis on the Planet.

What a tough fighting force the IDF has become.

The sound of women singing will send them fleeing in a panic. All the Arab armies have to do is blast a recording over a loudspeaker of a woman singing, and the battle is over. Pathetic.

If, G-d forbid, another 1967 or 1973 scenario occurs, Israel is done, thanks to the new improved IDF that has to be politically correct so as not to offend the frumma.

soon everything including masturbation will be of limits:)

I "love" how those who never served, think they have any right to dictate in any aspect. Same for for presidency. I respected Bush for his service in the military. I lack that respect for Obama. How can one send others over sea to fight, when they have never stepped foot onto a military base, as a soldier? If a woman is singing in the presence of sensitive ears, wear some ear plugs, and get over it.

I agree with the Haredi on this one. Why should anyone be forced to listen to someone sing? And what if the woman has a bad voice? Then that might fit the definition of torture.

Is it customary for Rabbis and Generals to exchange gifts like shofars and silver pomegranates?

That seems mighty improper to me. The army, being an organ of the state, should be prohibited from receiving/exchanging goodies. It also seems highly idolatrous. WTF?

Posted by: Survivor | September 12, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Betzalel

bush was not in the army

what are you talking about

++I respected Bush for his service in the military.++

I assume you are only referring to Bush Sr.

Did every war time president serve in the military?

Remember Cheney's quote "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service"?

Yes, George W. Bush was in the military. Also, the military is not defined as the "Army." The Army is a branch within the military.

halacha is halacha. men are not supposed to listen to women singing, whether it turns them on or not. "kol isha erva"

In the so-called Jewish state, those who want to observe real halachos (not like the ridiculous shit about women on the bus) should be accommodated by public institutions.

Just because you (and I for that matter) don't care much about halacha, doesn't mean that we should dictate our mores to those who do, any more than they should control us.

Posted by: Gevezener Chusid | September 12, 2011 at 12:14 PM

it is a Jewish state based on Jewish traditions and not halacha

Just because they define Judaism as followers of rabbinical laws (not Torah laws) does not mean they should tell the country how they should define their Jewishness and how the country is run or run the army

even more so since they give so little to the state and ask so much

Seymour,
Try not to be a thoughtless knee-jerk anti charedi attack dog.
If you hate halacha that's your business, but let me break something unpleasant to you. There are hundreds of thousands of Yidden who's guide is halacha and the majority of halachic opinions states that a man should not listen to a woman singing live. So if you really want Charedim to join the military, at least give them the option of respectfully leaving when a woman is singing.
is that too much to ask, or are you so consumed with hatred that you can't imagine respecting a differing opinion? Are you that closeminded?

Seymour,
Your assumption that the men just enjoyed the show is based upon faulty logic as well. Try to follow if you can, if it is permitted for men to listen to women sing live, then why not just join them? Why sing separate?

UHL, halacha is not an opinion. I respect opinions as they could be taken in account and ignored if necessary. Halacha on the other hand, just like sharia is a leagal code that requires absolute obedience.

So don't play this game, it is not about respecting different opinion. It is about submission.

"If you want" charedim to "join" the military? Fuck that. They should all be drafted and made to serve and provided with only "reasonable" accomodations to their religion. The free ride out of the military must end for the religious, both male and female. Why should some learn while others die? Everyone serves and then you can do what you want on your free time.

First, military organizations are premised upon discipline and command and control. The activity of which the "rebbes" complained was a military exercise which just so happened to have women singing secular songs in a choir. In any military organization, soldiers give up certain liberties, whether voluntarily or obligatorily. G-d gave the frummies hands, which just so happen to fit quite comfortably and conveniently over one's ears. I suggest that next time such soldiers, who serve voluntarily because they are frumma, are placed in a situation where they are exposed to female vocalists within a military exercise, they need to understand that they are not seated at their rebbe's tisch; rather, they are part of a military unit. They have no personal ability to get up and walk out without permission of their commanding officer, as such is generally prohibited. To do so erodes the cohesion necessary for the sound operation of a military organization. The rebbes, who are quick to shout outrage over the IDF for exposing yeshiva boys to the sound of a woman's voice, but produce less than a whimper over a rabbi's book which certifies the "kashruth" of murdering gentiles, have little to no credibility. If the defense of Israel was left to them, there would be no Israel today.
Second, Israel, as the "Jewish State" is a misnomer. While it has certainly become such in more recent years, under the mismanagement, neglect and unabashed chutzpah of Bibi Netanyahu, the term is derived from Hetzl's pamphlet, "Der Juden Stadt," which in English is properly translated to, not the Jewish State, but "the state of the Jews." Herzl's Zionism was premised on the best of Nineteenth Century egalitarian nationalism; not on messianic intervention. Weitzman, as Israel's first President, gave purpose to Herzl's vision when he observed that when a Jewish police officer arrests a Jewish prostitute and brings her before a Jewish judge, then there will truly be a Jewish state. Weitzman's point was that Israel is to be a modern, open and egalitarian body politic... concepts which the frumma, as well as the Russians and West Bank Settlers, exploit for their own benefit while at the same time reject.
Finally, while Obama was neither drafted nor did he volunteer for military service, his patriotism is far and away greater than Dubya's. Upon his graduation from Columbia University, Obama worked as a community organizer and actually lived among American working poor to better their lives and empower them to confront exploitative business and indifferent politicians. Dubya's daddy, a US Congressman at the time, wrangled his son a officer's commission in the Texas Air National Guard, a prime plume for "legal" draft evaders and in return his son frittered his away his time by getting drunk, going AWOL and working on political campaigns in Alabama.

++Yes, George W. Bush was in the military.
Posted by: Survivor | September 12, 2011 at 11:52 AM++

Wow, did you drink the Kool-Aid.

W's 'service' in the 'military' (don't want to get you riled up again with the definition) was a joke, and an obvious draft dodge.

http://awolbush.com/

If the Government of Israel keeps caving in to the demands of the Haredi, they may as well change their name to Haredi Republic of Israel

Ultra Lite,

what a drab and austere world if...
orgies are prohibited
crab is off limits
you can't feed your enemies to a lion
etca

That you would equate eating a piece of seafood or hearing a woman sing with orgies or lion-feeding is precisely why there is such a giant gap between the hard-line Haredi/dati communities and the rest of the Jewish people. You should live however you please and avoid whatever sins you wish, but suggesting that hearing a song is no different from an orgy is stupid reasoning par excellence.

Some of us have joined the 21st century. Feel free to visit anytime.

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