IDF Spokesperson defends integrating female combat soldiers amid criticism by religious officials

After chief rabbi of Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu called for the dismissal of IDF’s chief of staff due to the recruitment of female combat soldiers, IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis denounced his statements on Wednesday and emphasized: “IDF combat soldiers have one mission - security.”
First female squadron commander in the IAF Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

In a radio interview, IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis responded to a signed petition devised by the chief rabbi of Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, calling for the removal of IDF Chief of General Staff Gadi Eizenkot from his post due to the integration of female combat soldiers in the IDF.  The rabbi claimed that integrated service hinders the motivation of new recruits.

“IDF combat soldiers have one mission - security,” said Manelis on Wednesday. “Any attempt to link the integrated service protocol with motivation is baseless.” Manelis emphasized that on the contrary, the protocol encourages motivation among new recruits. Manelis denounced Eliyahu’s letter and said that public figures should demonstrate responsibly when forming statements against other public figures.

As previously reported by JOL, after the commander of the Israeli Air Force appointed the force's first-ever female squadron commander, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out in support of the decision that has been strongly criticized by several religious officials. Netanyahu rejected Eliyahu’s remarks and said that he is proud of the appointment. “Not only will I not condemn the chief of staff, I praise him and the commander of the air force,” the Israeli prime minister said from India. “I expect to see more appointments like this.”



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