Well… it depends who you ask.
In response to the recent publication of a ruling by the Chief Rabbinate
which states that Jewish law prohibits girls from enlisting in the IDF,
Rabbis Shlomo Riskin and Yuval Cherlow have publicized their views.
The opinion of Rav Cherlow is to oppose enlisting, while refusing to rule in
an absolute fashion: “[To enlist] is not a requirement; nor a prohibition.
[But] In my opinion, it appears from the sources that the place for our
daughters is not in the army.”
For young women facing the decision, he writes: “The issue is substantial, and not
simple. Your motives for military service are understood and warrant
appreciation: the desire not to be separate and different; sanctifying
Heaven; defend the security of Israel; to excel and reach special ranks,
etc.., I think that from the sources, they are more inclined to the
avoidance of military service, although I can not say that it is forbidden.”
“Not only that, but I consider national service (Sherut Leumi) to be of
Meanwhile, Rav Riskin of Efrat says that even those who are against the
enlistment of girls believe that Israel’s wars are milchamot mitzvah –
mandatory wars – and not milchamot reshut – optional wars – therefore there
is a requirement for women to enlist.
He also says that it is a question of ownership, and that those who say a
woman goes from her parents’ authority to her husband’s – and that precludes
her from enlisting to the army’s authority – are simply totally out of touch
with life as it is manifest today.
Rav Riskin too confirmed he was aware of the spiritual dangers in the
military, but also of the spiritual enhancement that army service provides,
both for girls and boys. “We recommend every girl who enlists, just like
every boy, prepares for military service by significant Torah learning,
learning relevant Gemara, Halacha, with an understanding of society and its