Photo: IDF Spokesperson
A religious IDF soldier
Photo: IDF Spokesperson

New IDF order leaves soldiers' presence at ceremonies up to commanders

Trying to sort out the grey areas, the Manpower Directorate has sent out an order that allows commanders to decide if religious soldiers must be present at ceremonies with singing women.

The IDF's Manpower Directorate distributed to army units on Sunday the "Shared Service" order on Sunday, which replaces the currently existing orders on male and female soldiers serving together.



According to the new order, which was authorized by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the right to a waiver from being present at an IDF ceremony was clarified and laid out.


The order was decided on following an order from Eisenkot's predecessor, Lt. Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz. According to the order, no IDF soldier may request or receive an exemption from being present at official IDF ceremonies, including Memorial Day ceremonies or those attended by the chief of staff.


(Archive photo: Herzl Yosef)
(Archive photo: Herzl Yosef)


However, soldiers would be able to request a waiver from unit events, such as fun days at a pool or attendance at the performance of a singer, and the commander would be entitled to decide according to their best judgment if such a waiver should be granted.


It was also decided that a religious soldier who signs on to serve beyond his mandatory service will be allowed to request to serve in a mixed-gender unit, and his request will be examined by the head of the Manpower Directorate. A source in the IDF explained that this process will clear up the many "grey areas" that have plagued the army in embarrassing situations in which religious soldiers have exited the hall when a woman say or alternatively lowered their gaze.


Practically, the new order will permit the commander's judgment in every battalion and unit in which his religious soldiers will request an exemption from being present at an event that is likely to offend their sensitivities, and the commander will be authorized to decide on the subject.


Further, the new order states that in exceptional circumstances and under a danger to one's life, male and female soldiers may sleep in the same room with a partition separating them. Such a situation may only be permitted for seven days and can only be given by a commander with the rank of major general in situations in the field when there is just one fortified room.


It was also decided that a religious soldier may permit a male instructor if the training includes physical contact or relatively revealing clothing (e.g., krav mega, exercising, parachuting). Also, in open units, two hours per week are to be put aside for females and two hours for males at pools and exercise facilities, and four hours per gender per week at closed units.


A senior IDF officer explained on Sunday, "The new order is based on the IDF's being a state army, the army of the people, in a Jewish and democratic state, without damaging the dignity of those serving."


פרסום ראשון: 09.25.16, 19:50
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