A rabbi employed by Israel’s military is quite upset the official army magazine Bamahane is talking about gay soldiers. Because they should not exist! Even if they do look hot in uniform.
In textbook “I’m a religious conservative, so of course I’m going to bitch about the gays” fashion, Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Avihai Ronski (pictured) wrote to army personnel brass that he doesn’t think the military’s own press should be highlighting The Gays. Blessed be their souls, the IDF responded: “Shut up.”
Okay, it was more pleasant than that. Their officially response was: The magazine covers soldiers from all walks of life, and “the IDF assigns soldiers to posts based on military needs and the soldiers’ personal abilities, not based on their sexual orientation or their gender. Any statement to the contrary represents personal opinion and not official IDF policy.”
This is, in fact, a new chapter for IDF! In 2001, after Bamahane published a feature on a soldier coming out, they shut the magazine down for two weeks. It’s unclear whether IDF would’ve responded in a similar fashion had, you know, Tel Aviv not just been the epicenter of a murderous attack on gay folks.
But it sounds like Rabbi Ronski’s real problem isn’t necessarily the magazine highlighting gay people, but that it’s highlighting gay people who are also Jewish. In his complaint, Ronski specifically targeted Major Yehoshua Gortler, who in an interview with the magazine “described his life as both a religious Jew and a gay man.”
“Mutually exclusive!,” we can hear Ronski shouting under his breath.
On the plus side, the IDF’s civil response to Ronski’s complain isn’t the end of things, reports Haaretz:
Adir Steiner, a leading activist in Israel’s gay community, told Israel Radio that the community has demanded that Ronski be discharged. “This incident is very severe, especially in light of the recent murders,” said Steiner. “What kind of message is he sending to gay people joining the army?” he asked.
Steiner, the first homosexual to be recognized by the state as an IDF widower, added that “I asked the IDF chief of staff to let the chief rabbi go. If he wants to spew homophobic remarks ? discharge him and let him say whatever he wants.”
Meanwhile, for a man so insistent on honoring Jewish tradition, how come Rabbi Ronski is doing things like desecrating Shabbat?