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Culture war as extremist Zionist-Orthodox rabbis try to shape Israeli army

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Israeli army rabbi blesses a soldier who just returned from Lebanon to north of Israel

Published: 19 July 2016

Last updated: 4 March 2024

In addition to recent controversy over comments by new IDF chief rabbi Eyal Karim, the head of a state-funded IDF pre-conscription preparatory academy in a West Bank settlement, Rabbbi Yig’al Levinstein, has described the LGBTQ community as ‘perverts’, said Reform Jews are really Christians, condemned IDF attempts to prevent deaths of civilian noncombatants (‘what are called innocents’) and criticised an IDF program of taking soldiers to theatre performances. Israeli president Rivlin, Defence Ministry director-general and others have condemned his remarks.

The cultural war brewing inside the IDF – Ben Caspit – Al-Monitor 19.07.16
Statements by leading Zionist-Orthodox rabbis against gays and in support of the exclusion of women from the army reflect the growing war of culture waged in Israel, between liberals and those who aspire for a more Jewish-religious state.
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And see:

Defence Ministry, Bennett condemn rabbi who called LGBT community 'perverts' – Yoav Zitun & Kobi Nachsoni – Ynet News 18.07.16
'The Halacha is not meant to be used to divide us or single out people or groups,' says Education Minister Bennett as Defence Ministry director-general seeks clarifications from the pre-army preparatory yeshiva the rabbi heads.

Israeli army bans anti-gay rabbi from bases, demands he retract statements – Gili Cohen – Haaretz 19.07.16

Rabbis who strive to shape the military's image
– Haaretz Editorial 19.07.16
It is not enough to condemn the statements of heads of pre-military academies and hesder yeshivas who are undercutting the military. Israel must limit their unofficial power by law.

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