Israeli Army Bans Anti-gay Rabbi From Bases, Demands He Retract Statements

Rabbi Yigal Levinstein has also criticized the military’s policy on avoiding civilian casualties.

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Rabbi Yigal Levinstein and then-IDF chief rabbi Raffi Peretz, 2010.
Tomer Appelbaum

The Israel Defense Forces has banned a controversial rabbi from its bases and says he must retract statements such as calling gay people “perverts,” military sources say.

Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, the co-head of a premilitary academy, has also criticized the army’s efforts to avoid harming civilians. In videotaped remarks, he has said such a policy “shows a development of delegitimizing combat.”

Levinstein and Rabbi Eli Sadan, an Israel Prize winner, co-head a premilitary academy in the West Bank settlement of Eli.

Military sources say the IDF’s personnel chief, Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolansky, told Sadan that the army expects to hear clarifications from Levinstein.

The rabbi has sometimes been invited to bases by the military rabbinate, though he has not lectured to soldiers in recent years.