According to the father of a female soldier serving in southern Israel, his daughter and her friends are not allowed to go into the bathroom at their base because it is also used by religious male soldiers.

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

Female IDF soldiers serving at a combat base in southern Israel are forbidden from entering the dining room and the bathroom so they don’t integrate with religious men.

The father of one of the soldiers said, “The only way for them to go to the bathroom is either by doing it in the field or by sneaking into the men’s bathroom while risking being caught and punished.”

“In some cases, when they go to the dining room they are not let in,” the father added. “They’re told things like, ‘You shouldn’t be here.’ In these cases, their only option is to walk to the nearest base, which is several kilometers away, to eat.”

This comes amid a heated dispute in Israeli society after a number of influential rabbis have voiced controversial views about women’s service in the army, with some making derogatory remarks.

Last year, the IDF updated its rules regarding co-ed military service, which led many female soldiers to complain about unfair treatment. “We’re not allowed to wear bright colors, especially not white shirts,” a female soldier said in September. “That’s because they say it may be see-through. Even if you’re wearing a white sweatshirt, they’ll tell you to put something else on.”

“When we were on a day off at the swimming pool, the guys were allowed to wear their swimsuits while we were told to wear a shirt and pants,” recounted another. “They never explained why.”