Religion Magazine

MK Rav Peretz Refuses to Speak to Females Joining the IDF??

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
According to this report on Kipa, MK Rav Rafi Peretz, head of the Ichud Hayemin party, was in the town of Elazar for Shabbos, at the same time a group of young wmoen from Midreshet Lindenbaum were also in town for Shabbos.
According to the report, after davening one of the young women approached him and asked that he speak to the group. Rav Peretz refused due to the fact that these were young women planning to draft into the IDF in the summer draft (though they already have the status of soldiers). A staff member requested that he speak to them and give them encouragement and tips how to serve in the best possible way, as he often does for young men in the process of being drafted, but Rav Peretz refused saying that he is opposed to women serving in the IDF.
I hope the report is not accurate. At the end of the article Rav Peretz responds that it had not been coordinated and because he was there for a family event he did not have time to meet with them. As Robert Evans said, there are three sides to every story - my side, your side and the truth. It would be a shame if that was really Rav Peretz's approach. Even if he is opposed to female soldiers, and he has every right to be, once they are in the system, they no longer have a choice. Even if it is before they are in the system, people sometimes make choices we don't like. If he wants his political home to be inclusive to the Dati community, he has to find a way to deal with the large segment of the Dati community that thinks differently than he does, whether on the issue of females in the IDF or regarding other issues. If he is going to push people away just because he personally has a different opinion, he won't have much of a political party to run.
And besides for that, just from the human aspect. Rav Peretz is in a unique position. He was Chief Rabbi of the IDF, and now he heads the home political party for that sector. Peretz is in a unique position to help, to inspire, to influence, and to really make a difference in the lives of these young people. It would be a shame if he took the approach of pushing people away for making choices he personally does not like.
I hope this was just a misunderstanding.
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