The Israel Defense Forces is becoming an organ of the country’s Chief Rabbinate, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday.
Lieberman’s comments, which he posted on Facebook, came in reaction to a booklet authored by senior rabbinical figures, among them military rabbis, with instructions for religious Jewish soldiers on how to avoid interactions with women forbidden by Jewish law.
“This … booklet for religious soldiers on the halachic laws of modesty, written by military rabbis … with the support of senior rabbinical figures, is yet another proof of the growing radicalization of religious Zionism that is being led by the ultra-Orthodox wing,” wrote Lieberman, warning that the IDF was becoming “Hashem’s army” (God’s army).
“This attempt to turn the IDF into the ‘army of Hashem,’ with conduct resembling that of a haredi [ultra-Orthodox] kollel, is part of the same messianic worldview that has penetrated Israeli society and which seeks to damage the fabric of life and the status quo on religion and state issues,” wrote Lieberman.
He concluded the post with a call for the booklet to be banned and rabbis that endorsed it to be barred from IDF service.
“The distribution of this booklet to IDF soldiers must be forbidden,” wrote Lieberman, and “the rabbis who sign it prevented from serving in reserves or lecturing to soldiers.”
Lieberman has repeatedly attacked the haredi parties as part of his ongoing rift with the Israeli right, warning that the ultra-Orthodox politicians want to promote legislation that would place heavy religious prohibitions on various activities, severely undermining secular Israelis’ way of life.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.