Israeli Ministers Spar Over Women Serving in Army

Naftali Bennett jumps on erstwhile ally Yair Lapid for attacking chief rabbis who called on women to buck the draft.

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Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Habayit Hayehudi party, attacked Finance Minister Yair Lapid for making "unacceptable" comments about Israel's chief rabbis, Arutz 7 reported Monday.

Lapid used Facebook on Friday to attack Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, for stating that they "forbid girls to be drafted to the Israel Defense Forces."

"It is chutzpah and a national scandal, and we will work for their dismissal in the Knesset and in the government, and if need be through the courts as well," Lapid stated emphatically.

The minister's post featured a photo of a female soldier wearing camouflage on her face and holding a semi-automatic rifle.

The current system allows observant Jewish girls to forgo enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces in favor of doing national service.

I believe that all girls should do either IDF service or national service, said Bennett, according to the website.

With that, the attack on the rabbis for their traditional position is an unacceptable attack on the respect due them, he said.

Bennett defended the rabbis' right to take their position in contrast to Lapid's argument that as "state employees' the rabbis "had no right to encourage girls not to serve in the army," reported Arutz 7.

The Israeli soldier portrayed on Yair Lapid's Facebook page on Friday.Credit: Screen shot

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