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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

IDF appeases religious soldiers، eases Joint Service Ordinance

Tuesday 12/December/2017 - 09:18 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
In a move to accommodate religious soldiers who stand against the IDF's recent decree on co-ed army service، IDF chief Eisenkot waives several demands in the order، allowing officers and NCOs to opt out of serving with women، as Ynet said.
About a year after it came into effect and amid objections from rabbis، politicians، women's organizations and senior reserve officers، IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot approved Tuesday several updates to the Joint Service Ordinance.
In contrast to the demands of religious elements، the clause requiring enlisted soldiers to serve in mixed gender combat units was not annulled، but was eased.
The new clause states that if a religious officer or non-commissioned officer (NCO) is assigned to serve in a mixed gender combat unit، such as the Caracal Battalion، he may submit a request for re-examination of his placement before it takes effect، and the head of the Manpower Directorate will examine his application.
The section is irrelevant for conscripts، who are given the option of choosing to opt out of co-ed service prior to enlistment.
Additionally، a sentence was redacted from the original order that stated that army service should be "not by way of separation between male and female soldiers،" a controversial decree that was resented by religious groups.
The order will not affect ultra-Orthodox soldiers who are excluded from it and will continue to enjoy the special conditions and separations intended for them throughout their service.
In addition، during war or emergency، large parts of the order will not apply، and the only consideration، such as male and female soldiers sleeping together in the same room or compound، will be made solely based on "Pikuach Nefesh" (preservation of human life overring virtually any other religious consideration).
Regarding the clause that obliges career soldiers to serve in mixed gender combat units، whether they are religious or not، the IDF explained that it has different expectations from career soldiers than from conscripts، and that there are already religious officers serving in mixed gender battalions، such as Lt. Col. Nir Dupat، who commands one.

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