Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Drafting Sherut Leumi Girls for Emergencies

Girls serving in the IDF has been as issue for years.

Some rabbis say that non-religious girls should even lie to get exempted from army service, by claiming a religious exemption.
In an article titled "Recruitment of girls is absolutely forbidden!", the rabbi of Beit El and head of the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva presented several halachic rulings regarding the issue that were given in recent decades, and stated that despite the "Mitzvah War" the people of Israel were engaged in, the modesty of women must not be compromised.

According to the rabbi, a girl who avoids joining the army only strengthens it, because she allows for God to be present in the IDF base. "This is our choice: Who do we want in the army, women or the Almighty?" he wrote, adding that the recruitment of women may lead to spiritual deterioration among soldiers.

Rabbi Aviner added that in certain cases, girls are even permitted to evade service by making false declarations to the IDF about their religious beliefs." (YNET)
Curiously, despite saying it's absolutely forbidden, R' Aviner supports those who are in the IDF.
"Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the notable religious Zionist rabbis, praises and supports the girls who decided to do military service, as reported Tuesday in a leaflet published by the non-profit organization, Aluma.

In the flier, Rabbi Aviner wrote: "Every religious woman soldier is called to be a loyal emissary of the Master of the Universe, in her personal behavior and in fulfilling her role in our holy army." Rabbi Aviner's statements represent a higher rank in regards to the religious community's relation to girls who decided to enlist in the IDF. (YNET)
Putting IDF service aside, Sherut Leumi is also not without controversy:
Sherut Leumi was originally proposed as a mandatory draft of young women, which great Torah scholars vehemently opposed. It is now an entirely voluntary program.

It seems that R. Tzvi Yehuda Kook generally viewed Sherut Leumi favorably provided that a girl is placed in a spiritually appropriate atmosphere. Someone spoke on my behalf with R. Ya'akov Shapiro, the son of R. Avraham Shapiro, and he said that girls who may be influenced negatively should not do it. But for other girls, it is fine provided that they are in a proper atmosphere. R. Mordechai Eliyahu, as related by his son R. Shmuel Eliyahu (link), seems to be cautious but not entirely against. R. Avigdor Nevenzahl is also quoted as having permitted Sherut Leumi, when in an appropriate environment (Hirhurim)
And how does all this connect to the news of today? IDF Homefront Commander, General Yair Golan has announced a new initiative that in war-time or times of crisis and emergency, some of the 12,000 Sherut Leumi volunteers will be "drafted" to the IDF HomeFront command civilian defense organization.
"They won't be requested to wear uniforms, but they will be under the command of the IDF" stated Homefront command population division officer Col. Chilik Sofer, "but we need to remember than in time of emergencies, the Homefront command will need as many volunteers as possible to aid with local communities, and the idea is to enable the participation of the 12,000 Sherut Leumi volunteers with the communities." (Walla News in Hebrew)
ZAKA volunteers would also be drafted to IDF Homefront command to help with the Chareidi communities.

I wonder what sort of backlash this is going to generate, despite clearly being only for life threatening emergenices/wartime.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Rafi G. said...

isn't sherut leumi already technically under the authority of the army? That is what I understood to be the reason the Haredim are so against Sherut Leumi even though it is technically just a year of chessed. Because they refuse to allow the girls to be under the army's authority.

Is that not true?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rafi: When Aguda ran to R' Yaakov Kaminetsky z'l in 1974 to give Golda an excuse why they were against it, the official Aguda reason was: No to "forced" chessed.

Nothing to do with the IDF. Today, Sherut Leumi is not run by the IDF, girls do not even receive an IDF ID number.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what sort of backlash this is going to generate, despite clearly being only for life threatening emergencies/wartime."

Don't go bringing rationality into it now, you'll sound like a kofer!

Yellow Boy

Anonymous said...


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Questions About Aviner said...


Anonymous said...

"despite clearly being only for life threatening emergencies/wartime."

What do you mean? Yehareg V'al Yaavor (as was paskened - literally - by Rav Bengis, Meltzer, Tzvi Pesach Frank, and the Tchebiner) means Yehareg V'al Yaavor.

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