Overcoming gender

Integration of both women and religious men into the IDF’s most prestigious units need not lead to strife and confrontation.

By
September 18, 2011 22:05
3 minute read.
A female soldier [illustrative]

Woman Soldier 521. (photo credit: IDF)

 
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Religious soldiers are becoming an increasingly dominant force in the IDF. Although our military provides no official breakdown of the precise number of religious and nonreligious soldiers, various sources estimate that about a third of all graduates from officers training courses in combat units wear crocheted
 kippot, much higher than the 6 percent they make up in the IDF. In many elite combat units, Orthodox soldiers have taken over the role once played by secular Ashkenazi kibbutziks.

In general this is a highly positive trend. Religious soldiers have proven to be highly motivated, selfless defenders of a Jewish state forced time and again to resort to military means to protect its citizens. And despite claims that religious soldiers are torn between their loyalty to rabbis and their commitment to a secular military hierarchy, there have been few cases of insubordination, though these few cases have often been seized upon by left-wing media with little understanding of the diversities of religious Zionism to portray all crocheted kippa-wearing soldiers as extremists.

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