Rabbi Teharlev: “The religious women are voting with their feet and joining the IDF”
Ohr Torah Stone’s Rabbi Teharlev made their comments against the background of the rabbis’ letter to Bennett – which was vigorously denied by the rabbis – that presented Bennett with an ultimatum to stop supporting enlistment of religious women in the IDF if he wants to cooperate in the upcoming elections.
By Oren Rafael, Channel 2| 9 July, 2019
This morning, the media reported that a group of rabbis including Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, Rabbi Eli Sadan, Rabbi David Pendel and Rabbi Chaim Gantz turned to former Minister of Education Naftali Bennett and put forth an ultimatum, stating that he must refrain from encouraging young religious women from enlisting in the military and that continuing to do so would prevent a partnership between his party (New Right) and the Jewish Home and running together in the upcoming elections. Bennett respond by stating that he was “proud of the IDF’s female soldiers.”
However, during the course of the day it became clear that the rabbis were denying the matter and calling the report false. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu replied that “I saw this news on Ynet and it continues to amaze me. How could Moran Azoulay file such an item in such a prominent place without even bothering at all to ask me if it’s true. You mentioned my name, but you didn’t ask me at all if this is correct.”
The Eli pre-military yeshiva also responded harshly. “We would like to clarify unequivocally that this simply is not the case. This is another lie whose purpose is to portray Eli and Rabbi Eli Sadan as extremists.”
In response to this morning’s storm, the Ohr Torah Stone network said, “We regret that every time the issue of religious women serving in the IDF is in the headlines, there are parties who rush to fan the flames of the controversy. Bear in mind that in the middle of this are real young women who are enlisting in the military out of a sense of mission, and who serve in the the most important positions in the IDF for the sake of the state of Israel, while simultaneously zealously guarding their religious lifestyle. We are talking about young women with strong values who contribute to Israel’s security, carry out true Kiddush Hashem, and take equal part in the national burden out of a sense of mutual responsibility and faith.”
Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, who for over two decades has headed Ohr Torah Stone’s flagship Hadas program at Midreshet Lindenbaum, enabling women to combine intensive Torah study with military service, added: “Each year we nurture religious women who study in the midrasha for a year prior to their induction into the IDF as well as provide them with spiritual support throughout the course of their military service. Out of a deep acquaintance with this subject we say, these women are voting with their feet, their hands and mainly with their healthy heads and they are sanctifying the name of God in public. The enlistment of women is a significant element of centrist, outreach Judaism.”