The IDF is taking a surprisingly strident, and even threatening, tone against soldiers who, on their off-time, protest the army's increasing integration of women in combat units.
Hesder yeshiva soldiers have begun distributing literature explaining the dangers of mixed-gender combat units, and of women in combat roles altogether.
The Hesder soldiers are generally considered the army's best, and their campaign has taken off over just the past few days.
"In the face of all logic," the distributed pamphlets state, "and "ignoring expert opinions and research, the IDF is undergoing a transformation that harms its female soldiers, impairs its combat abilities, and detracts from the safety of all of us. It is not logical, it is not moral, it is not humane."
The name of the new campaign: "Saving the IDF."
The IDF, which has now set as one of its primary objectives the full integration of women throughout the military, responded harshly. The IDF Spokesman's Office even compared the new campaign with that of the extremist haredi group that says one must be killed rather than register for the draft: "The call to 'Save the IDF' is similar to the calls coming from the extremists in the haredi community that oppose enlistment in the IDF and the fulfillment of the laws of the country."
That is, the IDF Spokesman's Office compares the mass protests and campaign to oppose at all costs even registering with the IDF, on the one hand, to those who seek to warn, from within, against dangers in the IDF, and advocate a short delay, at most, in enlisting in the IDF.
The Spokesman's statement continues: "The IDF views with gravity, and condemns any attempt at any form of refusal. Calls for division with the IDF and insults to the honor of people must be opposed and uprooted. Everything must be done to continue to defend the State of Israel by all those who serve, from all sectors of Israeli society. Participation in this act is forbidden to IDF soldiers, and the subject will be intensively investigated and treated with severity."
The campaign against mixed combat units also cites the physiological differences between men and women, and the consequent differences in the way in which they are trained. While men must run with two canteens and five bullet cartridges in order to qualify as a combat soldier, females need run with only one canteen and two bullet cartridges to qualify for the same.
In addition, men must jump and climb over a wall, while women are permitted to stand on a bench in order to qualify for the wall-climbing test.
Former IDF Generals Yiftach Ron-Tal and Avigdor Kahalani are quoted in opposing the IDF's new gender-integration policies.
The soldiers participating in the campaign are currently in the "Yeshiva studies" part of their IDF service, and are to return to active combat service only several months from now. "It is important for us to go out to the streets and distribute the literature," one of them was quoted as saying, "in order to show how harmful this approach is for the army service of many soldiers and for the entire IDF."