The IDF has decided to let female soldiers serve as kashrut (Jewish dietary law) inspectors for the first time. Brigadier General Rachel Tevet Vizel, Advisor to the Chief of Staff on Women's Issues, was behind the new move, although she notes female soldiers have yet to request the position.
Vizel told Kipa that regarding standards of religious public services, the IDF follows the policy of the state as established by the Chief Rabbinate and the Religious Services Ministry, and therefore women have not been allowed to serve as kashrut inspectors till now.
Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, who has called for unified kashrut standards, recently opened the inspector position to women, leading the IDF to follow suit.
Future female kashrut inspector soldiers will go through a shortened basic training following by a special professional course on kashrut inspection at the IDF Rabbinate's base in Tzrifin.
The issue of female service in the IDF has at times been a thorny issue in Israel, particularly as regards the service of women alongside religious men, and even moreso when the men are hareidi.
Rabbis have protested planned new directives regarding women's service, arguing they increase the chances of tensions with religious soldiers and allow "immodest garb" for female soldiers.
Former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronski has warned that political organizations and women's groups are pushing the IDF to choose between women or hareidim, a particularly troubling prospect given the excellence of hareidi soldiers and efforts to increase hareidi enlistment.
“The military is not a laboratory for research on equality in Israeli society,” Rabbi Ronsky argued. “I was taught, and I teach my soldiers, to take out the enemy. That’s why male and female soldiers need to each be put in the right roles."