A Tel Aviv
teen made a defiant call for equality Wednesday when he turned up at an IDF
recruitment center to enlist for mandatory service – but refused to get the crew cut all male soldiers are required to get.
Omri Dubosc-Cohen, 18, presented IDF officials at the center with a copy of a petition he filed with the High Court of Justice, asking the judges to bar the army from forcing him to cut off his signature locks.
Going beyond the personal request, the recent high school graduate asked the court to strike the haircut requirement imposed on male soldiers during their mandatory service. Instead, the army should subject the young men to the styling guidelines currently applied to female and reserve troops, thus allowing them to grow their hair out if they wish, he said.
IDF recruitment center (Archive photo: Motti Kimchi)
Dubosc-Cohen argued that his petition seeks to establish gender equality within the army – at least when it comes to grooming. The haircut requirement, he wrote, "violate the basic rights of troops performing their mandatory service. By violating their right to self expression, (the army) is also violating their pride and body." He stressed that the requirement is not reasonable or proportional.
Prior to filing the petition with the High Court, Dubosc-Cohen requested the IDF to allow him to keep his non-regulation cut, and was told that he may turn to a mental health officer to receive an exemption from the grooming rule. But the teen refused, asserting that a meeting with an army therapist would label him as "unstable and problematic."
Right to self-expression? Male troops (Archive photo: Shaul Golan)
"I believe that this army requirement violates my body and pride, my right to self expression and equality," he wrote to the IDF two weeks ago. "While I am forced to cut my hair, reserve troops and female soldiers – even those serving in combat roles – aren't required to cut theirs."
Bold statement or not, Dubosc-Cohen is likely to face disciplinary action over his demonstrative refusal to conform to the army rule.