The IDF Ground Forces Command has decided to transfer four female soldiers from an Artillery Corps battalion to another unit due to the upcoming arrival of religious soldiers to the battalion, military sources said on Monday.

The four female soldiers had recently signed on for an additional year of service to continue serving in the battalion. Several days ago, they were summoned by the battalion commander and informed that they would be stationed in another unit upon the arrival of the religious soldiers, who cannot serve alongside female soldiers.

News of the decision was first revealed by Israel Radio Military correspondent Carmela Menashe, and caused an uproar in the Knesset where MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima) called for the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to hold an urgent meeting to discuss women’s roles in the IDF.

“It is unacceptable that women will be moved from jobs that they fought [for] and work in their commander’s office instead, so they won’t be seen,” Adatto said. “Women should not suffer so Haredim can enlist. Haredi soldiers can serve in their own units.

“We cannot take women away from the roles they attained with integrity and hard work. The situation in the IDF cannot go back to the way it used to be.”

The four soldiers wrote a letter to the commander of their battalion and said the decision to remove them from the unit appeared to be unfair and was based “on sectarian considerations and not qualifications.”

Earlier this month, the IDF announced it was expanding its specialized tracks for ultra- Orthodox soldiers and will open up the first haredi battery in the Artillery Corps.

The plan has received the approval of leading haredi rabbis who recently toured the Artillery Corps’ bases throughout southern and northern Israel and signed off on the initiative.

In total, about 60 haredi youth will be drafted into the Artillery Corps in November and will form a new battery.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in response the soldiers were up for transfer due to the arrival of yeshiva students into the unit.

“A final decision has yet to be made and in any case, the status of the female soldiers in combat positions will not be harmed,” the statement said.

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