Religious IDF soldiers pray during training. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Religious IDF soldiers pray during training.

The initiative received endorsements from, among others, the chief rabbis of Jerusalem, Tzfat, and Kiryat Arba, according to the report.

By United With Israel Staff 

A number of rabbis who serve in the Israeli military reserves reportedly have written a handbook on modesty to guide soldiers during their time in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

It includes “stipulations banning them from serving in mixed-gender combat units and [male soldiers] from doing guard duty with women,” writes The Jerusalem Post.

The existence of the new handbook was said to have been first disclosed by the Israel Hayom daily.

It came amid a growing readiness by Orthodox rabbis to speak out against practices in the military which they view as contradictory to Jewish law.

The handbook “was written by Captain (Reserves) Rabbi Baruch Sapir and edited by what is described as the Forum of Reserve Rabbis – Jewish Law Department,” says The Post.

It received endorsements from, among others, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat (Safed) Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba (a suburb of Hebron) Rabbi Dov Lior, according to the report.

It speaks out against serving as a company commander of a mixed unit, though noting that “in rare cases where commanders have been required to take up such positions…a Torah scholar should be personally consulted” as necessary to determine how to avoid gender interaction, says The Post.

Male military personnel should not command female units or serve in a unit under the command of a woman, the rabbis reportedly said.

The rabbis also “insisted that religious soldiers could not sleep in the vicinity of women in the field,” but acknowledged that IDF regulations require that men and women have separate sleeping arrangements, says the newspaper.

On a matter which has been controversial even within the Orthodox world, the rabbis reportedly forbid “attending a ceremony where women sing.”

If attending such an event is unavoidable, religious soldiers and officers should “try not to enjoy the sound of the singing and not look” at the singer, say the rabbis, according to the report.

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