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Rabbis call on students not to go into tank corps after 3 women join course

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Two leading religious Zionist rabbis call on their students not to enlist in the Armored Corps, after three female cadets were allowed into tank officers’ training company.

Last month, the Israel Defense Forces announced it was allowing women to serve in tanks — not in its armored brigades, which will remain men-only — but in mixed-gender border security units on the Egyptian and Jordanian frontiers.

To that end, three female soldiers who serve in such units were put into a tank officers training company, within their own female-only platoon.

According to Rabbis Yaakov Medan and Amichai Gordin, of the Har Etzion yeshiva in the Alon Shvut settlement, such a situation of having men and women in a single company “does not fall in the bounds of Jewish law, and that prevents you from serving in it.”

Writing in a letter to their students, Medan and Gordin apologize profusely and say that they can no longer recommend that they serve in the Armored Corps, until the female soldiers are kept away.

“We will hope for better days, days when soldiers who follow the Torah will not be forced to be kept out of combat units, for days when the IDF will honor its commitments,” they write.

The IDF says the Military Rabbinate is working with the tank base where the course is being held to ensure that soldiers who feel they cannot serve alongside women can maintain “proper behavior in accordance with orders.”

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