Israel Rabbinate Seeks New Approach to Issue of Drafting Girls

The Chief Rabbinical Council of Israel met here today to seek a new approach to the problem created by the National Service Bill which provides that religious girls exempt from military service must do non-military service in agricultural settlements and in social welfare institutions.

Last week the Rabbinical Council ruled that conscription of women, even for non-military duties, was not in accordance with the Torah. This decision compelled the Zionist Orthodox Mizrachi and Hapoel Hamizrachi deputies in Israel’s Parliament to abstain from voting on the National Service Bill when the bill was given its first reading. However, the left-wing Lamifneh fraction of the Hapoel Hamizrachi decided in the meantime to vote in favor of the bill, no matter what the consequences may be.

Today’s session of the Rabbinical Council was to attempt to straighten out the divergencies existing within the ranks of Orthodox Jewry in Israel with regard to the drafting of women for civilian service. However, a meeting yesterday of the Gedolei Hatorah, Israel’s sages, confirmed a previous decision that the service bill does not conform with the Torah and decided to urge the Chief Rabbinate not to change its stand against the bill.

Two representatives of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis in the United States and Canada arrived here today to make a first hand study of the situation arising out of the opposition to the National Service Bill. The Union has gone on record as supporting the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in its present stand against the bill.

Meanwhile, Amram Blau, leader of the extreme Orthodox Neture Karta group, was arrested today and will stand trial in connection with the religious demonstrations against the bill in Jerusalem. He refused bail and will, therefore, be detained until Thursday when his trial is scheduled to take place.

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