Israel Education Minister Slams Rabbi For Calling Women ‘Weak-Minded’

This is not what religious Zionism believes, and not what Judaism believes. Experience tells me otherwise.

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In certain corners of Israel, one can find Jewish religious figures who very closely echo the misogynist beliefs that characterize much of the Muslim world around us.

One of those, apparently, is Rabbi Yosef Kelner, who told young Jewish yeshiva students preparing to enter military service that "women have a limited capacity for spirituality. They can reach a medium level of spirituality. There’s no such thing as spiritual women. It’s just not true."

Kelner qualified his statement by insisting he had nothing against women: "It’s not a failure on women’s part, it’s just that nobody is expecting them to reach certain heights spiritually."

The reason for this, according to the rabbi, is that women are "weak-minded."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded by seeking to demonstrate that, unlike much of the Muslim world around us, such views are not commonplace, acceptable or part of official policy in Israel.

"I don’t agree with either the content or the way it was said," Bennett told Voice of Israel Radio. "This is not what religious Zionism believes, and not what Judaism believes. All my life experience tells me exactly the opposite."

Bennett, who is himself a product of the national religious movement, called the rabbi's remarks "intolerable and inappropriate."

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