In his second security briefing to cabinet ministers in three years, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott said, “I am accused of being a feminist, but I am not a chauvinist or a feminist”.
Eizenkott went on to explain that this being the case, there is still a need to integrate females to a limited extent. He added, that for as long as he is serving in his post as commander of the IDF, women will not be serving in frontline infantry units such as the Golani Brigade, Paratroops Brigade, Nachal Brigade and Givati Brigade. Defending his policies, Eizenkott told cabinet ministers that he has come under attack for integrating female combatants into the service, but he is certain some of the criticism against him is the result of “ignorance and agendas promoted by interest groups”.
While Eizenkott remains comfortable defending his position, prominent rabbonim from the dati leumi tzibur have spoken out harshly against co-ed service, ruling it has created an untenable situation for religious soldiers, who are instructed to refuse to serve or command such a unit, even at the expense of one’s career. Rabbis have met with Eizenkott to discuss the matter but left such meetings with a sense of frustration amid an awareness he remains determined to implement his integration policy, despite their stern objections.
Seeking to make his point, that women do not belong in combat positions, Welfare Minister (Likud) Chaim Katz explained in tennis, men play five sets while women only play three.
Agriculture Minister (Bayit Yehudi) explained that while the Israeli population is well-aware of the diversity of the IDF; he fails to understand why the military spokesman uses this as a reason to be proud, constantly telling the world how the military includes men and women, as well as an array of soldiers living toeiva lifestyles, and Ariel feels this is unacceptable. He questions why we have to wave this flag at the world as something we are proud of, when in fact, we should not be. Ariel questioned why the spokesman seems to select the controversial photos for his media to the world, to which Eizenkott explained smiling, “He isn’t my spokesman. He is the IDF spokesman”.
Ynet quotes aides to Ariel explaining he personally does not object to women serving, citing his daughters opted for IDF service instead of Sheirut Leumi.
Eizenkott is also quoted telling ministers if the difficult humanitarian conditions continue in Gaza, hostilities may result.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)