The Chief IDF rabbi pledged that he would not allow religious extremism to affect the women serving in the Israeli army, according to an Army Radio report Friday. Referring to the recent turmoil in Beit Shemesh, Rabbi Rafi Peretz wrote to IDF commanders to address the issue.
"The same oversight that occurred in Beit Shemesh will not occur in the IDF," Peretz promised. Those "events were immoral, they go against the way of the IDF and its values, and are utterly opposed to the spirit of Judaism."
The rabbi said he would not tolerate any interpretation of Jewish law that negatively impacts the social environment of the IDF. "Within the IDF, only IDF directives can dictate the character of the army and the atmosphere within it, and determine what is to be done in various situations,” Peretz wrote. “From my acquaintance with these commands, I know that they certainly do not leave any room for discrimination against women."
"The spirit of Jewish law does not allow discrimination or violation of women in any circumstance and on any grounds," Peretz continued. "I cannot stand idly by in the face of such serious affronts."
The IDF has touted the recent graduation of five women from IAF’s pilot training program as proving their commitment to gender equality.