Rabbi Eli Sadan, head of the Bnei David premilitary academy in the West Bank settlement of Eli, defended comments he made about the place of women in society and about homosexuality during an interview with Channel 2 on Saturday night, saying he supported women having a profession but that it was secondary to the importance of family life.
Video footage of a lesson Sadan gave four years ago was made public two weeks ago, in which he said an educated, independent woman is “crippled” and described homosexuality as a disease.
Sadan, who in 2016 received the Israel Prize for establishing the first religious IDF prep school, said during the interview that his comments from the lesson had been distorted and taken out of the context in which he said them.
According to the rabbi, he had referenced a Tel Aviv University lecture in which the lecturer said that women should be taught from an early age to be independent in order not to be dependent on their husbands so they can choose to marry and divorce whenever they want.
“The problem is that this perspective puts into the head of young girl that family life is less important in life and that the most important thing is that she can get divorced and to provide an income for herself without getting married,” said Sadan, claiming that this attitude has given rise to a large increase in the number of single mothers.
“I am not against a woman learning a profession and having a career,” he continued, adding that he never made any such comment.
He pointed to a daughter of his who is a doctor at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, saying that “she contributes a great deal to the Jewish people,” and while doing so is also raising seven children.
Asked, however, if the most important thing for a woman is to have a family, and then if she also wants she can have a profession and career, he said yes.
And asked what his daughter should have chosen if she could have been either a doctor or a mother, he said mother.
“Young girls from the age of four should be educated that the most holy thing in life is to marry and live a happy life until 120 and raise children,” he said.
“I want a woman to fulfill her capabilities and learn a profession and have a career, but she should know that the value of family is the supreme value.”
He also rejected an attempt to characterize his position as one in which a woman should be “tied” to her husband, saying, “She is not tied to him, a husband depends on her more than she depends on him.”
The rabbi was also questioned about his attitude toward homosexuality and said that “liberals are trying to dismantle human nature and are destroying human society,” claiming that population numbers are on the decline in the US and Europe.
“Civilization is disappearing in the US and Europe. They are not having children. I call this collective suicide,” said Sadan.
He claimed that homosexuals are, for the most part, not born homosexual, and said that a large number of homosexuals are only inclined to this sexuality due to psychological reasons, and expressed support for efforts to have homosexuals live heterosexual lives.
“In many cases, such people can get married and have children,” he argued.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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