'Does a religious soldier have to feel like an exception?'

MK Smotrich present at meeting on mixed service, upset by by Chief of Staff's words, says 'IDF is no place for radical feminist agendas.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash90

MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), a member of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, reacted to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot’s words about the “Joint Service Order” for expanding the scope of mixed-gender army service.

During a meeting held by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eizenkot had claimed that the problematic order had been “toned down.”

“If mistakes were made here and there, we will certainly fix them. The only question is what will ensure our victory in war,” he said, also claiming that “The order was well-received in the army according to what I hear from commanders in the field - including the religious ones.”

Smotrich told Arutz Sheva, “Unfortunately, we didn’t get any answers [to our complaints.]. The Chief of Staff recited some slogans, asserted that the Joint Service Order is fine and that there is ongoing staff work aimed at fixing [problematic parts of] the order.”

“I am not convinced. I told the Chief of Staff that it is forbidden to bring in radical feminist agendas which hurt the army and its cohesiveness,” he said.

He emphasized that it is forbidden for the IDF to adopt a position that is at the heart of an argument about values in Israeli society. “If the army decides that it is educating towards pluralism and women’s equality, it should take into account that it is hurting its ability to achieve its military and security objective because it creates a dilemma for religious soldiers who want to serve and advance in the army ranks while [acting according to the dictates of] their beliefs. This will hurt the army.”

He described an official document issued by the Chief of Staff’s adviser for gender issues, which presents radical positions according to which there is no difference between men and women. “There was a proper integration order whose balances were completely different, and the new order removes those balances and establishes Joint Service as an educational value, turning the religious into the 'exceptions'."

“Does a religious soldier have to feel like an exception?” he asked. “Whoever puts this dilemma before such a large part of the public is hurting the army and the security of the State of Israel.”

Smotrich called on army commanders to “Remove the controversies over value systems from the army; we will deal with them here in the Knesset. Leave a consensus in the army. The job of the army is to maintain security - not to inculcate society with Western values,” he said.