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IDF Lauds Givati Commander After Media Storm

Commander falsely slandered for 'exclusion of women' praised by Brigade founder: 'I hope we have more like him in the future.'
By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/14/2014, 8:05 AM

After the media controversy over false allegations that Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ofer Winter had "discriminated" against women by uninviting star singer Sarit Hadad, the IDF praised the commander for his role in Operation Protective Edge.

Arutz Sheva was on the scene at an event honoring the Givati soldiers held Tuesday at Nahshonit Park, located east of Tel Aviv, in which the founder of the brigade, Brig. Gen. (res.) Yehuda Duvdevani, remarked "I hope that in the future we will have more commanders that will walk in his (Winter's) path."

Commander of the Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman added his praise, saying "the brigade, under the command of Ofer and the battalion commanders, came wherever it was needed and through creativity, planning and determination defeated the enemy every time."

For his part, Winter noted "I always said that if we are called in we will be the first to come. And indeed we were the first to come in and the last to go out."

The media smeared Winter for supposedly cancelling a volunteer performance by Hadad, and instead having Moshe Peretz, a hugely popular male singer, perform instead. They accused Winter of doing so because of Hadad's gender, given that some rabbis forbid soldiers from watching a performance by a woman on halakhic (Jewish legal) grounds.

However, the IDF Spokesperson unit denied the allegations, saying Winter had to choose between the two and merely asked several soldiers which they preferred, and they chose Peretz.

It has further been noted that female singer Roni Dalumi performed at the same event, and was warmly received by Winter.

Deputy Religions Minister Eliyahu Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) claimed Tuesday that the New Israel Fund is behind the campaign against Winter, noting the commander already came under attack at the outset of the operation when he invoked G-d and cited the Shema [Hear O Israel] prayer in an order he issued to his troops before the battles.

"The nation and its warriors proved in this war that they are proud of their religion and not ashamed of it," stated Ben-Dahan.