September 20, 2011
(Israel Matzav) The IDF does stupid things like this and then they wonder why so many religious families in Israel are desperate to keep their sons out of the IDF.
…At a national commemoration ceremony at Mount Herzl… Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was sitting in the first row. Suddenly, without advance warning, a female in uniform walked up to the microphone and started to sing. All eyes were on the rabbi – will he be stepping out now? Yet the honorable rabbi remained seated. He looked down, and that’s it.
This was very noble of the rabbi, and he was the only person to act nobly there. Ceremony organizers behaved foolishly by failing to spare him this embarrassment. They should have decided ahead of time what to give up: The female singer or the chief rabbi’s presence.
In the abovementioned case of the cadets and the female singer, there is no question who we should give up. The IDF requires combat soldiers more than it requires female singers. In the next war, the army will be sending Golani to the front, not a military band. And Golani today comprises numerous religious soldiers.
The army and secular Israelis may not like it, but it’s prohibited for religious men to hear women singing. Yes, some people are lenient if it’s ‘only’ with a microphone and/or it’s not live. But what the IDF pulled on Rabbi Amar – and what it pulled on a group of cadets who were then expelled from their unit for walking out – is absolutely prohibited under Jewish law. And the IDF knows it.
So why do they do things like this? Why do they try to rub religious soldiers’ faces in religious prohibitions when – as author Haggai Segal points out – they so desperately need religious soldiers? Read here, here and here. Here too.
Then read the whole thing. The cultural war of the secular on the religious could yet bring the country down, God forbid.
I’d be annoyed as a non orthodox Jew. Actually I didn’t know this was one of the rules. Every day goes by and I wonder why I’m fighting the urge. I hate to be told what to do and when to do it… that is probably what stops me. I need the freedom to be creative. I don’t know where I stand yet, but I sure don’t like listening to “performances” in Reform shules.