photo: Ofer Amram
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz
photo: Ofer Amram
Photo: Yuri Shaklenko
LGBT Chair Michael Hammell
Photo: Yuri Shaklenko

Reconciliation meeting between Halutz, gay reps

Following statements that outraged gays, army chief meets with community's representatives in bid to explain his comments

A week after saying things that angered the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz met with representatives of the community for a reconciliation meeting Tuesday evening. At the conclusion of the meeting Halutz ordered to appoint a person to be in charge of complaints based on sexual orientation in the army.


Halutz Made his controversial statement during a farewell ceremony from the chief of staff's advisor on women's issues. In the ceremony, the army chief said that "there are two genders: Men, women, and there are those we cannot speak about." The words caused an uproar in the gay community in Israel, whose members said that "there are things that we shouldn't laugh about."


During the meeting, which was aimed at reconciling the differences, Halutz said that in his words he was not referring to the people of the gay community and that he did not mean to hurt them. "The last thing I thought about when I was speaking was about the gay community. I did not mean your community or any other community for that matter," he said.


The representatives of the LGBT organization, chairman Michael Hammell and spokesman Shai Deutch highlighted the many complaints they receive from soldiers who claim they have been subject to harassment because of their sexual orientation. "The IDF is one of the most advanced armies with regards to the treatment of the gay community but there are still problems in the lower echelons of the IDF command," said Hammell, and raised some possible solutions, including an awareness campaign among junior and senior officers.


Halutz said that complaints due to sexual orientation usually do not reach his desk but are rather taken care of on the junior levels of the command structure. He promised to take care of the issues and contemplate the suggestions raised by the organization.


פרסום ראשון: 10.03.06, 23:49
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