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Barak and Gantz
Photo: Defense Ministry
Barak, Gantz joke censored by MOD
Criticism over religious elements' demand to restrict women in IDF, public arena has Defense Ministry scrambling to stop media from airing private joke about female soldiers shared between defense minister, chief of staff

The Defense Ministry found itself in a pinch Tuesday, after it scrambled to censor a joke exchanged between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz, during Barak's tour of the northern sector.

 

The exchange was, however, caught on tape by reporters who were covering Barak's visit to the Northern Command.

 

Barak: "Who are these girls? from the battalion? the brigade? the division?"

 

Gantz: "They sing on breaks." 

 

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Watch Gantz and Barak joking around

 

A video capturing the exchange shows Gantz trying to prevent its publication. Turning to an Army Radio reporter he says, "Army Radio, this is not being broadcast. Even if it's once-in-a-lifetime scoop – it stays on your tape."

 

He then turned to a Channel 2 reporter saying: "The same goes for you. Otherwise, it will be the last story. Let this not be the last story, like the last war. I promise you it will be the last story."

 


שיחת גברים בתרגיל בצפון  (צילום: אריאל חרמוני, משרד הביטחון) 

No room for humor? Barak and Gantz (Photo: The Defense Ministry)

 

The presence and role of women in the military has come under religious scrutiny lately, with several rabbis demanding their roles be restricted and their presence in public events be all but nixed.

 

The demand was greatly criticized by IDF officials, including Gantz himself and Major-General Orna Barbivai, head of the IDF's Personnel Directorate; as well as by many in the Israeli public.

 

When the tape arrived at the Military Censor's Office for processing, the banter was deemed as one in bad taste and the Defense Ministry and IDF Spokesperson’s Unit asked the media to cut the joke from their reports.

 

Video footage taken by foreign news agencies was also censored accordingly.

 

 

 

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