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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why the IDF and the political echelon want women to sing

Ohad Shaked (pronounced Sha-keid) is spot-on about what's really behind the women singing in the army.
For years we’ve seen incitement against the haredim for not bearing the burden, not joining the army and not working. They were said to offer no contribution and harm society, by “only sucking the blood of the secular.” Such arguments usually do not offer facts. There is no mention, for example, that some 61% of haredim work, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Yet if a religious student at a Kolel is considered a student who does not work, why is a university researcher considered a worker?

In the mid-1990s, and mostly after the year 2000, the army started to take in haredim, yet encountered a serious problem – they are different than the rest of society. Leading rabbis and top military officials looked into the required needs and established the “Nahal Haredi” platoon, on the basis of the haredi distinction.

The haredim, as opposed to other soldiers, do not wish to interact with female soldiers, so there are no females. The food served in the platoon is strictly kosher (mehadrin,) and soldiers are given time for prayer and Torah studies. The platoon achieved stunning success, and within a year became a regiment. Meanwhile, we saw the launch of the Shahar project to integrate haredim into the Air Force. These soldiers were to face no women, receive kosher food, and have time dedicated for religion.


However, the army, just like society as a whole, does not really wish to integrate the haredim. The military wishes to create a melting pot, thereby making the haredim like them. In other words, this is about secularization. This is what the secular and Zionist society did to Sephardic Jews (“the Mizrahi Shoah in Israel”), and this is what it’s now trying to do to us, the haredim. But not only to us.

The army was pained to see that 70% of cadets in the last officers’ course are national religious soldiers and settlers. Suddenly, the army realized that the military’s leadership is shifting into the hands of the religious, God forbid. The result was that our political and military leadership started to discuss the army’s radicalization in an orchestrated manner.

Suddenly they discovered that some cadets in officers’ course do not wish to hear female singling in official ceremonies because they are banned from doing so by Jewish Law. This is where it starts and ends. However, army officials immediately said this was about “exclusion of women” and “radicalization.”

It’s obvious that with more religious soldiers in officers’ course, more cadets seek to strictly adhere to Jewish law, and this has nothing to do with radicalization. In the past, they simply didn’t make it to officers’ course.
Read the whole thing.

If any of you is new on this blog and thinks that this post is an exaggeration, please allow me to send you to two important posts on this same topic in the past: Here and here.

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At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Building tolerance – even for haredim, by (Zoo) Rabbi Natan Slifkin

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Carl, a few things to note:

(1) Firstly, I was thinking the other day that if Religious Zionist soldiers will not join the IDF if they have to listen to a woman sing, then they don't really care about the welfare and well being of the State of Israel. Apparently listening to a woman sing is considered a worse transgression than not defending Israel? And here I thought the Religious Zionists were at the forefront of the defenders of the nation.

(2) I find it shocking to compare a Haredi rabbi studying in a Kollel all day to a university researcher finding cures for cancer. If you don't see the difference between the two, I find that stunning as well. And lest we forget, the greatest of Torah sages were also secular scholars, such as Maimonides. And I would add that Hashem does not give cures for cancer from heaven. It takes hard work to find that cancer cure, not simply prayers. And yet the State of Israel treats secular study as an inferior status to Torah study. My family in Israel did not get deferrments from the IDF to study at the university. No - they served in the IDF and then after they finished their IDF service, they entered the university. So if anything, Israel discriminates against the Chilonim.

(3) The whole point about getting Haredim to serve in the IDF should also be to acclimate them to society generally. It is not very helpful for the Haredim to join the IDF and not interact with a single woman while there. Life is not like that. If they Haredim are to be integrated in society (and get the job as a cancer researcher, engineer, lawyer, businessman, etc), they will have to work with women. This is a simple fact. I understand that today's Haredi world is increasingly gender-segregated. I have seen the gender segregated streets in New Square, New York, as well as the Monsey Trails bus lines. And I know they are in Mea Shearim and elsewhere. But this now extending to elevators and supermarket check out lines. Is this so healthy? Of course not. And the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. If Haredi life was so wonderful, why are the Haredim living on the brink of poverty in Israel? Yes - 61% of the Haredim work. But that is only because the Haredi men are largely supported by their spouses. Is that such a healthy way to live? Wouldn't it be healthier to actually encourage Haredi men to have normal and healthy interaction with women? This is what will be required in the workforce. Haredi men actually might have a female boss and actually might have to take orders from a woman. And why is that so wrong?


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