Chief of Staff Ashkenazi
Photo: Ofer Amram
A still from the classic Israeli comedy

Ashkenazi: Female soldiers prominent in IDF

During Holon convention for parents of army-aged youth, chief of staff answers questions on recruitment, Gilad Shalit, Iron Dome, discipline

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Thursday that the women serving in the IDF today are not the women seen in the 1976 popular comedy Givat Halfon, where female soldiers mainly serve tea. In response to a question during a convention for parents of youth soon to be recruited, Ashkenazi noted that 955 military professions are open to women in the IDF today.


The chief of staff also referred to the defeat of the military service evasion law in the Knesset about a month ago, saying he hoped the situation would soon change.


"It saddens me that the percentage of women recruited is low, and many falsely claim religious lifestyles (to avoid service)," he said. "There must be equality on this issue, like for men, and I hope the State will do something about it."


Ashkenazi was also asked about efforts to bring captured soldier Gilad Shalit back. "This objective is before me constantly," he said. "Nothing would make me happier than Gilad returning to (his parents) Noam and Aviva. We will not stop in our efforts and we are determined to bring him home whole and healthy."


In response to a question about the Iron Dome anti-missile system, Ashkenazi said the system would soon be operational. "We will operate it where we need to operate it, but even though it is amazing technology, it would be an illusion to think there will be an iron dome over the whole of Israel," he said. "We can't respond using only this."


Holon mayor to Ashkenazi: Enter politics

He also clarified the relationship between commanders and soldiers in the IDF, noting that behavior going against norms and orders is dealt with severely. He recalled an incident in which officers were relieved of their command after weapons were played with, resulting in one soldier being badly wounded.


"Anyone who hurts a soldier or humiliates him is unworthy of commanding him," he said.


He also referred to the case of theft from the Marmara, the Turkish aid vessel to Gaza which was boarded by the IDF. "Soldiers who steal have no place in the IDF," he said.


Ashkenazi won the applause of the crowd when he explained his views on serving in the IDF. Holon Mayor Motti Sasson said the chief of staff should go into politics when he had completed his military service.


"You should bring your norms into politics," Sasson said. "We need this, and I'll help you." However, Ashkenazi ignored the call.


During the event, parents had the opportunity to talk with IDF soldiers from various forces. The recruitment bureau even brought computers with data about recruitment in Holon, thus enabling answers to many questions about the recruitment process to be given on the spot.



פרסום ראשון: 01.06.11, 23:52
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