C'tee: IDF must strike balance for haredim, women

Livnat says draft solution must allow haredim to maintain there lifestyle in IDF without harming the rights of women.

May 21, 2013 03:08
2 minute read.
ULTRA-ORTHODOX men gather in the Romema neighborhood in the capital to protest serving in the army

Haredi anti-draft protest 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Haredim must serve in units that allow them to maintain their lifestyle but without violating the rights of women in the IDF, Ministerial Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women chairwoman Limor Livnat said Monday.

The Likud Beytenu MK participated in a committee meeting on the expected effects of haredi enlistment on women.

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Livnat and Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie – chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Status of Women – said the Peri Committee on haredi enlistment must ensure equality for women in the army.

“We want to bring the haredim into the army and have a revolution, which is very important to the IDF and Israeli society,” Livnat – a member of the Peri Committee – stated.

“In order to do that, we have to make sure the haredim in the army can keep their lifestyle as much as possible, without harming the rights and status of women in the IDF.”

Livnat explained that if a haredi unit has an event, they should not have a female singer, but if there is an event with soldiers from many different units, there should be no problem with female entertainers, but haredi soldiers should be exempt from attending.

According to Livnat, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Peri Committee “wonderful things” about women in the IDF, calling them a central and important part of the army.

However, Livnat said, the army is a male-dominated institution and the Peri Committee would not have had any women on it if there had not been a public outcry and campaign by female MKs.

The IDF’s Adviser to the Chief of Staff’s for Women’s Affairs, Brig.-Gen. Rachel Tevet Wiesel, said bases with haredi soldiers are not closed to women.

“Haredi soldiers won’t have a female trainer, but there are female technology officers on their bases. It’s complex,” she explained.

“I am or my deputy is part of any discussion of this matter, such as whether to open new jobs to haredim.”

Lavie called for legislation that would require the IDF to issue reports on the status of women in the army and the effects of haredi enlistment on women.

“We must create a balance in order to protect the rights of all minorities in the army. The IDF can meet this challenge, which is different from the others it deals with,” she said.

According to Lavie, haredim need to feel wanted, secular people must feel safe and the IDF must ensure equal opportunities for women.

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