Members‘This is our nation and we have no other’

“It doesn’t matter whether a soldier is religious or secular, Reform or Messianic, or has ‘inverted tendencies’ [i.e., is homosexual],” said Rabbi Eli Sadan, founder of a pre-military academy for Orthodox Jews in Judea and Samaria.

By Aviel Schneider |
RABBI ELI SADAN Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

“If he gives three years of his life on behalf of the Jewish people, and sometimes sacrifices his life, he is a tzadik [righteous man].”

Rabbi Sadan was responding to an ongoing debate among religious Jews about who should serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The debate came into the national spotlight when Rabbi Yigal Levinstein came to Rabbi Sadan’s academy in the settlement of Eli and made inflammatory comments that set off a storm of controversy. Levinstein blasted the integration of women into the IDF and made disparaging remarks about homosexual soldiers.

Much of the Israeli public was outraged, and especially the young religious women who have long served in the Israeli army. Many Orthodox rabbis still oppose army service for young women on grounds that it corrupts morality and that their traditional role is to get married, raise children and be homemakers.

In his 15-minute speech, Rabbi Sadan spoke up against these attitudes in...

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