my rabbi says

Won’t the Israeli Military Please Stop Highlighting Those Homosexual Soldiers?


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?

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  • tomsj

    I think if I ran into Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Avihai Ronski in a dark alley I’d turn into a pillar of salt. He’s very scary looking.

  • M Shane

    Ronski ‘s arguement isn’t that different that that of Christian religious freaks against gay soldiers- only that gay people ‘s presence would be an unhealthy influence on the Christian Soldiers. The ary itself seems to be a lot more liberal. I recently saw a love story between two soliers in the Isrealie army which was quite good, the name of which misses me. One guy was really cute.

  • Helga von ornstein

    Personally I would prefer to see the soldiers than this old biased fart.

  • naprem

    What exactly do you have against copy-editing? Seriously, it takes like 30 seconds.

  • Michael vdB

    Just like Christians (and other faiths) for every conservative Rabbi that thinks gays are evil doers, there is another liberal Rabbi who would support gays. How can he speak like he speaks for everyone?

  • hyhybt

    @Michael vdB: In Christianity, wherever your beliefs lie on the scale, it’s customary to include only those at least as conservative as yourself as being “real” Christians. There’s a church down the street from me where they believe you aren’t Christian if you allow instrumental accompaniment (such as piano or organ) in services, for instance, whereas I’ve never heard of one where it’s required. I assume Jews are the same way.

  • Alex

    @M Shane: The film was Yossi and Jagger. If you liked it it’s worth checking out other films by director Eytan Fox: Walk on Water and The Bubble, both of which I actually liked better than Yossi and Jagger.

    It’s also worth noting that the name of the magazine translates to “In Camp”. Just saying.

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