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Wednesday, November 14, 2012 

Female soldier rebuked for thoughtcrime

While this matter may have already been straightened out, it's still a very insulting case of "cultural sensitivity" towards Haredim in the army at the expense of the female members:
A female soldier was recently reprimanded and ordered to hand in a written apology for braiding a fellow soldier's hair in public, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

According to the report, the private's commander claimed that the act was in violation of the IDF's integration code and offensive to the religious sensitivities of the ultra-Orthodox soldiers serving on the base.

The integration code was introduced in IDF bases in order to facilitate haredim's service in the military and includes special kosher food supply, separate dormitories for men and women, modest clothing worn during fitness exercises etcetera.

The female soldier's mother said that her daughter had a hard time accepting her punishment: "She told me the commander reprimanded them, saying that what they did was very serious, and as a punishment ordered them to write a five-page essay.

"My daughter understands the need to be sensitive to her fellow soldiers, but this is a huge exaggeration. On the one hand female soldiers are encouraged to support each other but on the other hand if her friend is crying she is not allowed to hug her in case someone is offended by it," she added.

The mother added that while orthodox soldiers' feelings were a top consideration, her daughter's request not to wear leather shoes, due to her vegetarian lifestyle, was flatly denied.

The IDF spokesperson's Unit said that "The IDF's orders do not forbid soldiers from braiding each other's hair. The officer made an error in judgment, which was corrected, while stressing military regulations."

As for the soldier's mother claim that her daughter's request was denied, the IDF said that "The soldier was given permission to wear alternative footwear within the base."
Well I should hope they fixed everything, because it sounds to me, if anything, like the commander overreacted without any Haredi soldier even complaining in the first place. Perfect cowardice. Whoever he is, the commander should be ashamed of himself for causing the woman a potential trauma over a big nothing and giving the impression to any female recruit that they intend to declare them inferior even long before they join. Furthermore, the Haredi soldiers themselves have to learn to have a thick skin of their own and not be bothered if a soldier girl does something they think is inappropriate, and learn that they too have to make certain sacrifices and leave some of their beliefs at the door when working in jobs like these.

So final query: is the commander going to apologize to the soldier girl for making a mountain out of a molehill?

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