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Friday, November 10, 2017 

Religious reps shouldn't complain about women in the army

It may be one thing to argue against putting women in combat units proper (and so far, I don't think most rabbis have conveyed their misgivings correctly), but to say it's bad in every way for women to serve in the military is ludicrous:
A group of leading Orthodox rabbis met with the Israeli army’s chief of staff to complain.

According to Israel’s Arutz Sheva news website, the rabbis told Gadi Eisenkot on Tuesday that the growing ranks of female combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces are creating an immodest environment. They demanded changes to accommodate observant male soldiers.
So female sexuality is problematic, not the possibility that, if fighting in a battlefield, they could be more vulnerable to being taken hostage by terrorists and killed? This is not off to a good start.
Some religious and conservative Israelis have alleged that the changes are creating a dangerously sexualized atmosphere, with men and women training, eating, sleeping, showering and going to the bathroom in close quarters. Former high-ranking military figures are among the critics.

Last November, ex-military chief rabbi Brig. Gen. (res.) Yisrael Weiss warned that after a man and a woman served nine months together in a tank, “a little tank soldier would be born.” The same week, Col. (res.) Yonatan Branski, claimed that whenever members of a mixed-gender unit report for duty, “all the birth control sells out at the base canteen.”

Branski, an Orthodox researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, a new conservative security think tank, told JTA that sex is a distraction in many areas of the army where men and women serve together. However, he said, it is much a bigger problem in combat units because fighters serve together under unusually intimate conditions and cannot afford to be distracted.

“Did you ever hear of a mixed-gender professional basketball team?” he said. “The answer is no, and that’s because they want to win.”
This is enough to fall off the couch laughing. They act like the army doesn't have laws and regulations about how to manage sexual relations in any situation. Furthermore, if a male soldier commits an offense against a female soldier, whose fault is that? If the rabbis go by blame-the-victim routes, they're not helping. And for people who're allegedly opposed to homosexuality, what if beliefs in gender segregation wind up influencing what they supposedly find objectionable? On which note, let's take a look at the following:
Serving alongside women is even more problematic for religious soldiers, who must constantly ensure that they do not violate Jewish legal prohibitions on interactions with women, said Branski, who was the first commander of the army’s Haredi Orthodox battalion. Ultimately, he predicted, the army would have to choose what is more important to it: the combat service of women or religious men.
Again, I'm not sure what the point is of saying you're opposed to homosexuality if that's the kind of custom they must adhere to. And if they care more about sexuality than safety of the country, that's even more offensive.
A report by the IDF ombudsman published in May cited a number of problems integrating women into combat units, including a lack of showers that sometimes forced women to use the same facilities as men. But Eden Liberman, a 23-year-old commander of Israel’s first mixed-gender infantry brigade, called Caracal, said her soldiers, including the religious men and women, have moved past traditional gender roles and come to see each other as comrades in arms.

“When there is some sort of security threat, it doesn’t matter whether it is a man or a woman. They’ve all learned to trust each other and to respond accordingly,”
Liberman told JTA. “All kinds of stigmas are erased, and bonds are created between boys and girls that are different than those you see anywhere else.”
And there are various other businesses where men and women work together, so it's laughable to say mixed company is impossible outside the bathrooms. And if the rabbis believe in child-bearing for Israel's future, it's hilarious if they'd have a problem with babies born in tanks. They should just shut up and worry about public safety from terrorism.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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