Israeli advocacy group urges Haredi draft must not be at expense of women soldiers (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Ophir Bar-Zohar 05/31/12)
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A women´s security policy group is preparing to warn the Knesset that
the drafting of ultra-Orthodox men into the Israel Defense Forces
must not come at the expense of women soldiers.
The Women´s Forum for Policy and National Security, along with by
WIZO, intends to make this point on Friday before the newly-minted
Knesset committee established to examine ways of expanding the draft.
The ultra-Orthodox draft has become a hot-button issue, especially
since the High Court of Justice declared unconstitutional the Tal Law
granting widespread exemptions to the ultra-Orthodox. The law is due
to expire in August.
The forum will also demand that any change involving the draft of
ultra-Orthodox men include only the regular army and not the career
army, and that the search for candidates be conducted only on merit
and not based on gender.
Both the women´s forum and WIZO present numerous examples in their
position papers in which the military service of ultra-Orthodox men,
and even mainstream Orthodox men, have caused detrimental changes in
the service of women soldiers.
They cite, for instance, the case of a woman communications officer
who was not assigned to a particular unit because of her gender, and
the reassignment of female combat soldiers in the Artillery Corps
because soldiers from hesder yeshivas (who combine their yeshiva
studies with periods of army service ) had joined the unit.
The women´s groups also note that there are no women´s sections in
IDF synagogues; female soldiers are not allowed to read aloud from
the Passover Haggadah on Seder night; and certain units refuse to
take women shooting instructors, among other examples.
Sixteen organizations are slated to testify before the committee,
including the National Students Union, an association of hesder
yeshivas and a group of reserve brigade and battalion commanders, as
well as the forum and WIZO. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/31/12)
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