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Sunday, August 04, 2013 

Army insisting Haredi base not off limits to women

What I want to know is whether they'll penalize any staffer there who does pull such a rude act:
Days after ultra-Orthodox troops barred a female Border Police member from entering their dining hall for dinner, Israel Defense Forces officials insist that the Haredi Netzah Yehuda Battalion's base is not off limits to women.

The incident occurred last week, when a Border Police unit, comprising several male members and one female member, completed an operation in the West Bank and arrived for dinner at the army base at Mevo Dotan. When the female member of the unit was denied entry by ultra-Orthodox soldiers manning the post, her male comrades decided to remain outside with her.

This is the second instance in which women have been denied access to the base, violating orders and army protocol.

IDF officials have emphasized in recent days that while Netzah Yehuda, which is more commonly known as the Nahal Haredi, is a male-only battalion, there is nothing in the rules that prohibits female soldiers and officers from entering their base.

The incident prompted Knesset Member Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), chairwoman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, to urge Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to look into the issue.

"We are in the midst of a process that will lead to a drastic rise in the number of ultra-Orthodox troops enlisting with the IDF," she wrote. "Naturally, this process requires the IDF to prepare accordingly. Clearly, the IDF must be sensitive to the needs of the Haredi troops, but that cannot lead to a situation where women are not allowed to enter bases."

[...] Army officials have made it clear that despite the single-gender nature of the battalion, it is unavoidable for the Haredi troops to come in contact with women during their service – whether these are female career officers who conduct technical checkups at the base or soldiers attending events that include the Kfir Brigade.
They haven't answered whether they'll punish Haredis in the army who do resort to discrimination, or have. If they were to make this clear in the screening process, it could help, and send an important reminder to all Haredi enlistees that gender discrimination carries a heavy price. Is that really so hard?

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