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Israel’s Female Soldiers: A Difficult Balance of Equality and Military Reality
Algemeiner ^ | 4-21-17 | Shiryn Ghermezian

Posted on 04/21/2017 5:13:32 AM PDT by SJackson –Israel’s female soldiers seem to break barriers on a consistent basis. In January, new figures revealed that the number of women serving in combat roles in the IDF’s Home Front Command is up 38 percent this year. And last month, the IDF launched a pilot program in which women will be trained as tank operators for the first time.

Indeed, the Jewish state takes pride in being an oasis for gender equality in a region largely bereft of women’s rights; this attitude extends to Israel’s military. At the same time, for a nation facing ever-present security threats both internally and on its borders, gender equality has its limits.

“The mission of the army is to protect and win. We need to understand that the mission of the army is not equal opportunity,” Brigadier General (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir, who has had a 30-year career with the IDF and served as an adviser on women’s issues to the military’s chief of staff, said on April 3 in New York City.

Klifi-Amir moderated a discussion with three female Israeli soldiers — Sgt. Noam, Staff Sgt. Maya and Staff Sgt. “Y” — whose full names were withheld for security reasons. The panel took place as part of a program hosted by the Young Leadership Division of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding the “education and well-being” of IDF soldiers.

The female soldiers on the panel all told that they have never encountered discrimination, and that their male counterparts treat them with respect. Staff Sgt. Y described her interactions with male soldiers as “very, very professional,” and Staff Sgt. Maya — who commands an infirmary at her battalion’s headquarters — explained, “We train with the guys, we do everything like them. Inside the unit, everything is the same.”

Israel is the world’s only country where military service is obligatory for women. Women must serve two years in the military, with some exceptions, such as if they are pregnant. Today, 95 percent of the IDF’s positions are available to women, according to Klifi-Amir.

Yet “equal opportunity” does not exist in the purest sense, the female soldiers said. Klifi-Amir told the crowd that she does not believe all military positions should be open to women. The physical training required for some military roles may be too grueling for a woman’s body, and the IDF is responsible for the life of each soldier, she said.

“Where it’s right and it could be helpful, then it should be done. Where it’s not, then no,” Staff Sgt. Y said, regarding equal military roles for men and women.

“I need to learn to carry my own equipment, even if it’s very heavy, and when someone offers to help me, I know to say no,” Staff Sgt. Y said. “I don’t want [male soldiers] to think there’s an area where I am different from them.”

Gender is not the only issue that these soldiers grapple with.

Sgt. Noam, 19, who was born in Vietnam and adopted as an infant by an IDF soldier’s widow, discussed the challenge of training medical personnel in reserve units, and getting the trainees to respect her because of her youth.

“Most of the people are 40-years-old or 35, and I’m so young,” she said. “A doctor who has so much experience, how can I tell him what to do? It’s challenging. How can I teach him…? Because the medical material [learned] in a civilian’s life is not the same as in the army. And some operations done in the civilian world are much harder [to perform in the army].”

She also said that her Vietnamese background has attracted some unwanted attention from Israelis. Due to Israel’s relatively low East Asian-born population, she said, people probe her about her family and her physical appearance, and wonder how she can speak Hebrew so well.

“My favorite question is, ‘What are you?’ So sometimes I just answer that I’m an alien and that you should take me to your leader,” Noam said.

Staff Sgt. Y, 23, is the first female soldier to oversee medical protocol and instruction in the Israeli Navy’s Flotilla 13 (“Shayetet”), a special unit comparable to the US Navy SEALs. As a paramedic, she has also treated wounded terrorists.

“Inside of me, it’s not easy at all,” she said of that experience. “It is very, very hard. … But it’s part of the job.”

Klifi-Amir added, “If we lose our values, we will become like other armies on the Arab side and [the] Muslim side. We will not be like that.”

TOPICS: Israel; News/Current Events

1 posted on 04/21/2017 5:13:32 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Lazy day at the barracks...

2 posted on 04/21/2017 5:15:43 AM PDT by rjsimmon (The Tree of Liberty Thirsts)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you'd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.


With "integration" a fact for nearly 60 years, a third of the force and half the officers female, I'm not sure of the relevance to the US experience. Not to mention the relative "manpower" needs.

Israeli women’s combat roles exaggerated, military traditionalists say Besides, while I’m an alien and that you should take me to your leader is a great answer, ‘What are you?’ is a question the would get you in trouble with most employers in the US>

3 posted on 04/21/2017 5:18:27 AM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: rjsimmon

Thanks for following the Rules! Any more followers?

4 posted on 04/21/2017 5:36:18 AM PDT by gr8eman (facts and evidence are bourgeois constructs weaponized by patriarchal penis-people)
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To: rjsimmon

One thing is certain, those girls aren’t Millenial snowflakes.

5 posted on 04/21/2017 5:50:20 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: gr8eman

Wonderful to see beautiful faces like that that aren’t ruined by a ton of makeup. I have a stunning step daughter (remember Sandra Santiago in Miami Vice?) Who wears too much of the stuff. Don’t understand it.

6 posted on 04/21/2017 6:00:37 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (Fidel and Che are together again, and it ain't on a t-shirt.)
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To: CrazyIvan

I’m with you. My older daughter used to do her eye makeup like a streetwalking raccoon.

7 posted on 04/21/2017 6:03:09 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: SJackson
The IDF is a basically a home guard. The US Army and Navy are real deployable fighting forces. There is a huge difference.

A home guard can use both the elderly and women in certain roles like it did during WWII. Most of these gals ride buses and act as a security force.

8 posted on 04/21/2017 6:10:11 AM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: rjsimmon
 photo israeli-defense-gm_l21.jpg

Some are more equal than others.

9 posted on 04/21/2017 6:27:31 AM PDT by onona (Keeping the faith will be our new directive for the republic !)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Not sure if these are real IDF gals or not, but if so...they are beautiful.

10 posted on 04/21/2017 6:52:19 AM PDT by servantboy777
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