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Women's singing in the army. Yes or no?
Photo: Shai Rosenzweig
Gesher Executive Director Ilan Geal-Dor
49%: Excuse troops from listening to women
Nearly half of Israel's Jewish population believes religious soldiers should not be forced to attend events which include women performers. Fifty-nine percent of haredim say women in their sector are not discriminated against, while 41% think they are
The exclusion of women has become a main source of dispute within the Israeli society in recent weeks. One of the events which has been making headlines is the dismissal of religious soldiers from an officers' course after they walked out of a military event as female soldiers began singing.

 

Could it have ended differently? A poll commissioned by Ynet and the Gesher organization shows that nearly half of the public believes religious troops should be excused from events which include women performers.

 

The survey was conducted by the Panels research institute among 501 respondents serving as a representative sample of Israel's adult Jewish population (maximal sampling error: 4.4%).

 

Results showed that 49% of the public believe religious soldiers should be excused from military ceremonies which include women performers, 40% said they must be forced to attend and only 4% would like the IDF to only allow men perform in ceremonies.

 

Ultra-Orthodox (71%), religious (75%) and traditional Jews (55%) said the soldiers should be excused, as did 40% of seculars. However, more seculars (51%) believe religious soldiers should be forced to attend events which include women performers.

 

Respondents were then asked whether religious and haredi women were greatly discriminated against in their sector – and 70% said yes. Only 26% believe women are only slightly or hardly discriminated against.

 

Most seculars (80%) and traditional Jews (71%) gave the first answer, while religious Jews (72%) chose the second one.

 

A more complicated picture was presented by haredi respondents: Fifty-nine percent said women were slightly or hardly discriminated against, while 41% stated that women were greatly discriminated against.

 

What should be done about Taliban women?

Asked about the way "Taliban women" should be treated, 65% of respondents said the phenomenon should be denounced and prevented. Twenty-nine percent of respondents believe it should be ignored because "everyone has the right to decide how to dress."

 

Seculars (71%), traditional Jews (55%) and religious Jews (50%) mostly denounce the phenomenon, while the haredim (53%) appear to be more forgiving.

 

Should the State intervene in this phenomenon? Fifty-three percent of respondents believe it should, but 22% said it was none of the State's business.

 

An analysis of the results showed that among seculars (62%) and traditional Jews (46%), the most common answer was that external intervention was required, while the haredim (59%) and religious Jews (48%) were against it.

 

According to Gesher Executive Director Ilan Geal-Dor, "The Israeli society, religious and secular as one, feels that extremism could hurt our delicate fabric.

 

"The public sphere must be a place where everyone feels comfortable, and the latest discussion is creating unnecessary tension. We at Gesher believe that extreme phenomena can be combated through a dialogue between the sides, rather than letting them affect the majority."

 

 

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