A number of leading dati leumi rabbonim met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott on the issue of the Joint Service Ordinance during which they posed a number of demands for an amendment to the order. The rabbonim emerged from the meeting quite optimistic, but it now appears that Eizenkott is not expected to accept the rabbis’ demands, which is likely to lead to another round in the battle between the army and religious Zionists.
According to Ben Caspit’s report Monday, 9 Kislev in Maariv, Eizenkott is expected to reject the rabbis’ demand to make substantive changes to the order. The chief of staff apparently will not accept the rabbis’ main demand that IDF officers be given the option of refusing to serve in gender mixed battalions, but the intended change will apparently be in one of the declarative clauses of the order. It will have no operational or other significance on the ground.
According to the report, Eizenkott’s decision apparently took place after meeting last Friday with four Knesset MKs active in the field of women’s rights and gender equality in the IDF and in general. These are Merav Michaeli and Ayelet Nahmias-Rubin from the Machane Tzioni, and Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin of Meretz. Earlier, the chief of staff met with the rabbonim, including Deputy Defense Minister Eliyahu Ben-Dahan of the Bayit Yehudi and representatives of the various women’s organizations that encourage gender integration and mixed service in the IDF.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)