Thursday, February 08, 2018

Nonsense and Common Sense

Rabbi Yosef Kelner

I have seen my share of nonsense in this venue. 

Most of those commenting on my posts are intelligent, rational people. I agree with some, disagree with others, and am neutral with still others. But there are some who defy this description. It’s not they they are stupid. Or even irrational. But some of their views are so retrograde; so off the wall, that I was originally tempted to delete them. 

However, I ultimately made the decision to allow them to keep commenting.  They represent a view of reality and Judaism that actually exists in the world of Orthodox Judaism. More than we would like to admit. As such I allow them to comment in order to demonstrate this lamentable fact. It helps that they are usually rebutted quite forcefully by others that comment here.

But I never thought would see such views expressed by a rabbi that teaches at a pre-military religious academy in Israel. His views are so ridiculous that I am beginning to suspect that he is one of the more frequent commentators here – commenting under an assumed name. Their views (in this case about women) seem almost identical! From a Times of Israel article: 
In footage broadcast by Hadashot news on Tuesday, Rabbi Yosef Kelner was seen disparaging women with careers as “gorillas” to yeshiva students at the West Bank settlement of Eli…
 “Women have a limited capacity for spirituality. They can reach a medium level of spirituality,” Kelner said in a class on marriage and family that was filmed last summer.
“There’s no such thing as spiritual women. It’s just not true,” he said. “It’s not a failure on women’s part, it’s just that nobody is expecting them to reach certain heights spiritually.”
 “They are weak-minded. They just babble, that’s it. Women’s babble,” Kelner told students.
Women, he said, were naturally intuitive, but modern culture had “turned them into nothing.
“They are destroying women until there won’t be any women left. They are all so confused.”
He went on to assert that women were less intelligent than men, and pointed to the fact that there were more male Nobel laureates than female ones.
“Just because they send them en masse to universities they’re suddenly all great geniuses? No!”
He added: “Yes, there are some CEOs here and there, ‘girlillas.'” 
Girlillas! Very funny! The only ‘gorilla’ here is Rabbi Kelner. At least in terms of his views about women. It is one thing to be opposed to women in the military. It is another to characterize any human being the way he did – even towards a justifiable albeit controversial end. There is not a doubt in my mind that this rabbi should be terminated from his job. In no way should that kind of nonsensical dribble be allowed to be taught in any society. Let alone in the military.

That said, I am still of the firm opinion that women should not serve in certain segments of the military. Like combat units or in any circumstances where men and women will of necessity be secluded together in closed quarters for any period of time. (I have recently explained why I feel that way and will not do so again here.)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot
However, in addition to modesty issues there are simply some positions in the military that are not fit for women because of their natural physical limitations.  As noted in the past these differences are real. There ought not to be exceptions made for the few women that might be able to pass the rigors required of soldiers in combat. 

Today’s feminists are attempting  to change that. I am happy to see that there are still some clear thinkers in the army that oppose it. Fortunately one of those that feels that way is  IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. From the Jerusalem Post
"There is integration (of women), but it needs to be to a certain extent," Eisenkot stated during a security briefing to government ministers, stressing that at the moment he doesn’t see the integration of women into infantry brigades such as Golani, Givati, Paratroopers or Nahal.
"People tried to accuse me of feminism, but I'm not a chauvinist or a feminist,” he stated, adding that the comments made by some on co-ed service come from “ignorance and agendas promoted by interest groups."
Eisenkot stated that the IDF has only one agenda and that is to be strong and victorious in times of war. As such, he stated, the IDF will continue to offer combat positions to women. 
He is 100% right. It is becoming increasingly obvious that those agitating for complete equality in the military care more about that than they do about being ‘strong and victorious in times of war’! Of course they will deny that. But I think it should be obvious to anyone with an unbiased brain that the an egalitarian agenda is far more important to them than what the IDF is supposed to be about.

I still disagree with Eisenkot about allowing women into some combat situations for reasons of modesty and to avoid Michshol - temptation - as stated above. But it’s still nice to know that when it comes to the reality of physical differences between men and women, that common sense still prevails where it counts.