According to Education Ministry’s supervisor of state religious high schools, national-religious girls are taught Chief Rabbinate’s ruling that bars enlistment of women to the IDF; remarks lead to uproar at Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

While 18-year-old national-religious boys are encouraged to serve in combat roles in the IDF, the Education Ministry appears to be encouraging the girls in the sector not to enlist, according to remarks by the supervisor of state-religious high schools.

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held a discussion on the topic earlier this week following a report on Yedioth Ahronoth that judges from rabbinical court will start visiting state-religious high schools during the coming school year to collect religious declarations from the girls that would prevent them from enlisting in the IDF.

The head of the Administration for National-Civic Service, Sar-Shalom Jarbi, initiated the move after seeing an increase in the number of religious girls choosing to enlist in the IDF.

He claimed it is meant to make it easier on national-religious girls, who up until now had to arrive at the rabbinical court in person to make the religious declaration, which allows them to receive an exemption from military service.

Women in combat roles in the IDF (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office)
Women in combat roles in the IDF (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Office)


The move was met with a lot of criticism over the fact the girls will now have to make their religious declaration under the watchful eye of the teachers and educators who seek to stop them from enlisting.

“Our education is based on the written Halacha (Jewish law). The Chief Rabbinate barred the enlistment of girls to the IDF,” the supervisor, Ram Zehavi, explained during the Knesset discussion.

The supervisor’s explanation was met with an uproar at the committee meeting room, with Yesh Atid MK Mickey Levy crying out, “How is it possible for the religious education to be against IDF enlistment?”

MK Michal Rozin from Meretz added, “You’re actually saying your education system is calling (on girls) not to enlist in the IDF.”

Three of the religious MKs who participated in the committee discussions led the protest against Zehavi’s comments.

Women in combat roles in the IDF (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office)
Women in combat roles in the IDF (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Office)


“You’re sabotaging the future of the religious girls,” charged MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid).

She was joined by Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria, who said, “These are quality girls, their enlistment is good for the IDF, good for the state and good for the girls themselves, who want this. We won’t let this stand.”

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), another religious legislator who was once the head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, also criticized Zehavi, asking him to take back his comments.

Zehavi answered Stern, saying, “The state-religious education teaches to keep the commandments and live according to the Halacha. We teach the Halacha ruling that determines girls’ enlistment in the IDF is against Jewish law. On the other hand, we also respect the personal choice of those who want to enlist.”

A representative of the Justice Ministry clarified in the discussion that rabbinical court judges will not be allowed into educational institutions.

In light of that, the head of the Administration for National-Civic Service said he was looking into the possibility of holding meetings between the rabbinical judges and the students at municipal institutions instead.

As reported by Ynetnews