Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid blasted Israel’s Chief Rabbinate one day after it decreed that Orthodox Jewish women should not serve in the military.
Jewish law, ruled the nation’s top religious body Thursday, forbids women from enlisting in the IDF. The ruling came on the heels of recently published statistics that showed a rise in religious female recruits.
Livni took to Facebook Friday to voice her criticism of the Rabbinates decision. “This ruling harms the female citizens of Israel, depriving them of acting of their own free will and contributing to their country.”
Livni continued: “Instead of advancing with the times and connecting to Israeli society, the Chief Rabbinate chose to withdraw and disconnect from reality and Israeli society.”
Despite the efforts of religious authorities, she expressed optimism over the growing numbers of religious female conscripts. “It suggests that change which comes from below is very powerful and has the strength to defeat attempts of repression and control.”
Lapid, famous for his Facebook rants, also took to the social media network and struck an even harsher tone than Livni.
“This is chutzpah and a national scandal,” he wrote, threatening to move for the rabbis’ dismissal in the Knesset and, if necessary, through the courts.
“We are talking about civil servants who receive a very handsome salary from the State of Israel, sit in their comfortable offices with their vehicles nearby, and announce their disapproval of girls serving in the mud and the cold,” he added. Lapid ended his post saying that David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef were unfit to serve as chief rabbis of Israel.
The ruling Thursday under Lau and Yosef noted that it was continuing “the tradition of previous chief rabbis.”
During the discussion leading up to the decision, the chief rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, infamous for instructing Safed residents not to rent to Arabs, warned that female enlistment threatened “to erase the identity of Israel as a Jewish state.” Beersheba’s chief rabbi, Yehuda Deri, framed the debate as a matter of life or death.