IDF female religious soldiers complain about co-ed military service

The IDF’s co-ed service has been making headlines recently and challenging the relationship between the Religious Zionism movement and the military. Due to the recent tensions, senior level Religious Zionism rabbis have been collecting the testimonies of female religious soldiers who have had problematic experiences due to this issue. One female religious soldier said that she had to sleep in a tent with male soldiers.
Archive Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

In recent weeks, senior level Religious Zionism rabbis have been gathering the testimonies of religious female soldiers about their problematic experiences due to the IDF’s co-ed military service. The initiative to collect the testimonies comes due to the growing crisis between the movement and the IDF in regards to men and women serving together in the same units.

“Our tent was co-ed and as a religious girl who has never touched a boy, to sleep in the same tent [with boys] was very problematic,” said one of the female religious soldiers. “When it was time to pray, I was told that I need to pray in the tent, where these boys were half naked. I went to my commander who understood the problem and promised me that it will not happen again but he said that for the next two days, I will have to deal with this.”

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“They [the male soldiers] think that they can do things like hug you from behind, pick you up and kiss you on the cheek because we know one another well,” she continued. “These are things that I don’t feel comfortable with because I’m saving myself for marriage (shomer negiah).”

Another female religious soldier said that she had a sports class with a male instructor. “As a religious girl, I find this unacceptable,” she said. “Many people gathered to sit and watch us during the sports class.” She called the incident “traumatic.” Another female religious soldier said that she had guard duty with a male soldier who turned off the light in the military post in order to watch a movie, which made her feel uncomfortable.

Earlier today, JOL reported that IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot told a prominent Religious Zionism rabbi that the military will reevaluate the co-ed service command.


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