Chareidi IDF Soldiers Forced to Hear Lecture Given by Female Soldier

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idf-soldier1Chareidi-religious soldiers who serve in the Israeli Navy complained on Wednesday that, contrary to instructions and promises by the IDF that they will have a military service in which no there will be no involvement of female soldiers, they were forced to attend a lecture given by a female soldier.

The IDF wants chareidi soldiers to serve and has promised to have all non-combat rules conform with their lifestyle to encourage their enlistment, which is often met with resistance in the chareidi community for fear of its negatively affecting their religious level. The insistence on male lecturers is a basic tenet for their service as chareidi schools for boys and, in fact, most religious Zionist high schools, have no female teachers.

The lecture dealt with none other than Tu B’Shevat and its importance as a holiday.

The soldiers said they came to the classroom where the lesson was given by the female soldier, whom they jokingly referred to as “the Rebbetzin.” The soldiers chose to respect the orders they were given and remain in the room until the end of the lesson. They later met with senior officials in the Nahal Chareidi and talked with them about the incident, which they said is contrary to the IDF’s promises to Chareidi soldiers. According to the agreed upon guidelines, Chareidi-religious soldiers are supposed to be exempt from such classes or have male instructors.

Eliyahu Lax, Chairman of the Organization for the Religious Soldiers, told Arutz Sheva that this is not the first time such incidents have occured. He noted that in addition, the daily Daf Yomi shiur that chareidi soldiers were receiving was recently cancelled and they are now eligible for only one hour of Torah study a week.

“This is disrespect for the orders, and yet the IDF says it wants hareidi soldiers,” Lax said, who noted that the organization recently turned to the State Comptroller and asked him to work to enforce the orders regarding the integration of hareidi soldiers in the army. “Despite our turning to the Comptroller, the IDF continues to disregard the orders and agreements.”

Last month, chareidi-religious IDF soldiers in the chareidi Shachar Kachol unit stationed at Tel Nof Air Force Base were made to sit in a lesson with female soldiers from one of the base’s units.

The soldiers later told Arutz Sheva that when they realized they were about to attend a lesson alongside women, they complained to their commanders. In response, they said that one of the base commanders said: “From now on, this is the procedure.” He added: “We will not have exclusion of women here from now on.”

The soldiers said they were also instructed to clean women’s restrooms as part of their routine participation in cleaning and maintaining the base. This, too, is a violation of the terms of service that stipulate that they will remain within their training area and not enter women’s quarters.

Recently, Lt. Col. Rav Moshe Ravad, the Israel Air Force’s Chief Rabbi, asked to be relieved of his post. He will remain in the IDF until his retirement, which is a few months away, but will not be in a command role.

Lt. Col. Ravad expressed his “loss of faith in the system” after what he saw as recent attempts to demean chareidi-religious soldiers and other religious soldiers. He previously announced that he would be resigning from the Shachar Kachol program for enlistment of hareidi-religious men to the IDF.

The IDF Spokesman responded laconically to Wednesday’s incident, not addressing the Army’s infringement of the rules, but saying, “An educational program about Tu B’Shvat and its origins, as well as a tree planting ceremony, took place in Navy bases today. We are unaware of any requests by soldiers asking not to participate in this event.”

Read more: Arutz Sheva

{Arutz Sheva/ Newscenter}


  1. There are chareidi sensitivities beyond halacha that should be respected as they are in the US army. That’s why they stayed. Had it been assur, I hope they would have left regardless of the consequences.

  2. The Chareidi soldiers are not trying to exclude women soldiers; they are asking that THEY be excluded. No discrimination as far as I can see.

  3. This is getting absurd. Now people won’t listen to female soldiers? What next? That they are in the line of sight? That they eat in the same mess hall? We’ve stopped applying halacha here and have gone into the territory of just excluding women from our visible lives altogether. Halacha does not demand that they are invisible.

    Not to mention that they made fun of this soldier, calling her names like “the rebbetzin”. Very disrespectful.

  4. “contrary to instructions and promises by the IDF that they will have a military service in which no there will be no involvement of female soldiers”

    1) This is an issur of not keeping their word.
    2) It will not end with a lecture.
    3) Previous Gedolim understood these issues quite clearly. Ehrlicher Yidden don’t belong in the IDF.

  5. Ablert:

    Regardless of the Halacha or accepted practice in a community this is something they IDF PROMISED. They were willing to give up hundreds of murders to free one soldier but are not willing to treat future and current soldiers how they PROMISED!!

  6. #1, 4 and 7: It’s not assur to hear a woman give a lecture BUT:
    1) How is the woman dressed? One can assume that she was not dressed modestly.
    2) Why should a whole group of men have to look a woman in the face for a whole lecture, even if she were dressed modestly (which most certainly she was not)? This is very different than passing
    women on the street or anywhere else. This is having to either face her directly or have an entire room of soldiers averting their eyes which you surely would agree is rude. I won’t bring you sources about shemiras einayim, but go ahead and try to deny that it is a Torah value. If you do, then I’ve wasted my time writing this.
    3) Why don’t yeshiva high schools have female teachers? It’s not assur, but not recommended! Even when, according to halacha, a woman is allowed to lead, it is considered a bizayon hatzibbur that the men are so ignorant as to make it necessary. There were a few outstanding women in our history who taught Torah to men from behind a mechitza (e.g. Rashi’s daughter). I’m sure this chayelet lectured from behind the curtain…
    4)A deal is a deal. These soldiers went to the army with the understanding that their religious sensitivities will be respected and this was part of the deal. The army is trampling upon the chareidi soldiers and making a mockery of them. 5)It’s the general direction, not just the Tu B’shvat lecture: cleaning the ladies’ room, no more Daf Yomi, women singing. They’re out to make a statement that religion is not to be tolerated in the army. And then they rant and rail that the chareidim are parasites and don’t want to contribute by serving in the army.

  7. In general, it is most likely assur for men to hear a female lecture. If she does speak, it should not be from the podium (e.g. she should speak from her table at a simcha)

  8. what in the world is going on in frum world today.. seriously grow up people. there are actually important things out there not this sillinesss

  9. The scorn and disrespect that the Secular Establishment in Israel has towards Chareidim and their lifestyle, crosses all boundaries of civility, honesty, and tolerance, the very traits that this cultured breed prides itself with.

    They have always had a duplicitous mindset in their dealings with Chareidim. Why did these soldiers entrust their Torah lives in the hands of people for whom the Torah has no value?


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