The exemption regulations for the recruitment of religious girls from the IDF continue to cause a stir in the Chareidi sector, due to fears of a change in the process. It is clear to all that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott is determined to bring as many women into the IDF as possible, with a growing number opting for combat positions in gender-mixed units R”L.
At the beginning of the week, Chareidi MKs headed by Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman, Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni, Deputy Minister Meir Porush and MKs Uri Maklev and Michael Malchieli met with senior IDF and defense establishment officials in an attempt to reach understanding.
Participating in the meeting held at the Ministry of Defense at the Kirya in Tel Aviv, were IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott and Head of Planning & Personnel Directorate Brigadier-General Eran Shani, as well as Avi Abuchatzera, advisor to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
There are efforts to permit military officials to immediately revoke a woman’s draft deferment if she is found to be lying regarding her religious affiliation. The IDF is also working to change the makeup of the decision-making committee, and to transfer the major authority for determining the level of Mitzvah observance of women from rabbonim and dayanim to IDF personnel. This is especially problematic for women who did not attend yeshivos but now, in their teens, are becoming frum and wish to be in Sheirut Leumi instead of the IDF.
Another issue is witw girls who submitted a religious declaration form that was signed by a Dayan but for some reason is not registered in the military computers as an Ulpan or seminary student, who is then subject to be summoned and questioned whether she is indeed a religious person.
The bottom line is where as in the past a girl who attended religious schooling filled out the appropriate forms and was given an exemption. Now however, the IDF wants more authority, authority that currently rests in the hands of rabbonim, all in an effort to induct more females into the military in line with Eizenkott’s vision.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)