Rabbi: Soldiers can't function effectively alongside women

Rabbi: Soldiers can't function effectively alongside women January 18, 2018

Israeli Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, above, has sparked a row after attacking mixed-gender units in the army, claiming that ‘any healthy male soldier who is in the company of a female soldier on a mission can’t fulfill it properly. For a healthy person, that is man’s nature’.
Speaking on Army Radio a day after Rabbi Shlomo Aviner called on his followers not to enlist in units containing both men and women, even if that meant refusing to serve in the Israel’s Defence Forces, the Safed chief rabbi called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sack the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Gadi Eisenkot.
Eliyahu said:

Rabbi Aviner is a responsible person. He has thousands of students. All his life, he educated with devotion for the benefit of the people of Israel. Maybe Eisenkot should wake up; maybe the Prime Minister should tell him to go home.

The comments by Aviner, above, who is one of religious Zionism’s most prominent rabbis, were published on the Kipa website earlier this week. In response to a question by a yeshiva student who is about to enlist and has reservations because of mixed genders in the army, the rabbi said:

It’s a great mitzvah to go into the army and at the same time uphold the Torah’s instruction that men and women should keep very far away from one other.

The student continued:

Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Many yeshiva students fail to uphold the prohibition against touching; also with hugging.

The rabbi responded:

If so, one should request a unit where there are no women, such as an elite combat unit or a Haredi unit – a unit of ultra-Orthodox soldiers.

The student persisted, saying this too was impossible. The rabbi then answered:

If that’s the case, then unfortunately, for now, one shouldn’t go to the army. Either a separate unit or don’t enlist for now.

In an interview with Army Radio on Wednesday, Aviner added that:

If one receives an immoral order – such as serving alongside women – tell your commander politely that this is not why you joined the army.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he strongly rejected:

The blatant intervention of external agencies into army matters – including rabbis, no matter how lofty their status. This is unacceptable and damaging to state security and the state. The IDF is not a feminist or chauvinist army, and all its considerations are operational.
I call on Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner to retract their benighted statements and in future avoid making similar statements that could harm the strength and legitimacy of the IDF.

But, in siding with The Bearded Ones, Bezalel Smotrich of the Habayit Hayehudi party said:

There are professions for men and there are professions for women, this is how Lord Almighty created the world and this is the right way for the world. Everyone that tries to blur these simple distinctions does wrong to himself and to the world.

However, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, also a leading member of the religious-Zionist community, rejected the rabbis’ comments. In a tweet he said:

I totally reject the call to avoid the draft and the brazen call to fire the chief of staff. These calls stem from a sincere but erroneous anxiety felt by several groups that believe the IDF has decided to embrace a feminist-liberal-radical agenda, at the expense of future operations and victory in war.

Last year Rabbi Eliyahu sparked outrage when he suggested that gay people were terrorists. He told Army Radio:

We will not allow Israel to become LGBTistan. There is LGBT terror, which forces the system to do what it views as being against healthy thinking. To say this is sick is an understatement – it’s something that needs to be treated and fixed.

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  • Farmer Giles

    And the fuckwit and his fellow fundamentalists have special exemption from the military so that he can keep his head well below the parapet and sleep well in the knowledge that others have to do his fighting for him. What a bigotted shitehawk. And its fundamentalists like him who are the catalyst of the prolonged hatred and murderous fighting that has been going on for millennia.

  • John the Drunkard

    In the name of religion, the Israeli state is saddled with these parasites.
    They are almost a cartoon version of the Wahhabi morons who keep broadcasting from Saudi Arabia.

  • Broga

    Cowardice skulking under the guise of religious principle.

  • StephenJP

    Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, still has a free, vibrant and irreverent press, and is streets ahead of any of its neighbours on all aspects of human rights. It is also vilified appallingly by most of those neighbours, many of which publish the historical libels against the Jewish people on state media.
    That said, it is sometimes very difficult to defend a nation that has such a large number of dimwit god-botherers among its citizens. At least the government – even the odious Lieberman – have called this idiocy out.

  • AgentCormac

    ‘If so, one should request a unit where there are no women, such as an elite combat unit…’
    Really? The people who adhere to Eliyahu’s pre-historic world view don’t seem to think they should have to serve in the Israeli military at all. Based on their precious religious beliefs, of course.

  • Farmer Giles

    Normal Rational Person: Fundamentalist Jews can’t function effectively alongside women. Fundamentalist Jews can’t function effectively alongside anyone but their own primitive tribe.

  • Great Satan

    Does America, and indeed Britain, have to be forever in the stranglehold of these theocrats ? ; http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/lets-end-the-israeli-tie-that-binds/

  • barriejohn

    Claims – from those of any religious stripe – that men are unable to control their “lusts” in the presence of women, say more about those making the claims than they do about the general population. Why this unhealthy obsession with sex all the time? They seem to have the most vivid imaginations!

  • Daz

    “any healthy male soldier who is in the company of a female soldier on a mission can’t fulfill it properly.”

    In other words, women make better soldiers than men, since men so are easily distracted. In which case, make all your soldiers women, since they’re so obviously more capable of doing the job.

  • David Anderson

    Ah yes, those brave manly Israeli soldiers who are putting a 14 year old Palestinian girl on trial because she slapped one of those brave soldiers who just happened to be in her back garden.

  • Stuart H.

    Ultra-orthodox units in the Israeli Army? I doubt there are any. Being ultra-orthodox or claiming to be a Torah student are the most popular ways of avoiding national service, as far as I know.
    Maybe things have changed, but when I was last in Israel most ordinary Israelis had nothing but contempt for such religious hardliners, who demand that the military behave in the most oppressive ways, but will never themselves be found in military uniform or within a stone’s throw of angry Palestinian youth.

  • sowa

    Clearly his objection stems from his patriarchal religion and nastiness, not genuine care for women’s well-being but sexual abuse of women seems to be quite rampant in the US military. Personally I don’t think it’s a good idea but I am not a woman, soldier or even Israeli.
    “To say this is sick is an understatement – it’s something that needs to be treated and fixed.” – funny, I feel the same about your worldview, Rabbi.