MK Urges IDF to Separate Men and Women

Sexual harassment case between Lt. Col and soldier shows 'problematic' trend within IDF, Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) asserts.

Benny Toker,

MK Smotrich
MK Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The IDF should separate men and women, Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) stated to Arutz Sheva on Sunday morning, and cited the long-drawn sexual harassment case against Lt. Col. Liron Hajbi as proof. 

"The IDF must be an environment of holiness," Smotrich declared. "Today involvement of women in the IDF in an intimate situation with men, such as a tank or an office, is problematic."

"You cannot roll your eyes at this case," he continued. "There is a commander here who was the salt of the earth who fell into doing this horrible and shameful act, because [like the Torah says - ed.] there is no guardian against sexual immorality." 

Smotrich clarified then that he does not want to completely bar women from the IDF, but for the army instead to be more stringent on separating the sexes. 

"I do not mean to ban all the girls from the army, but to make sure there will not be any situations where the sexes meet that create these problems," he said, noting that research on the subject indicates that it would be enough to lower the sexual harassment rate. "The dynamics of a soldier with a soldier and all that that entails - we cannot bury our heads in the sand here." 

"Look at what has happened to the family unit worldwide, Western civilization is burying its head in the sand, but there are consequences to the fact that soldiers are working together and sleep together in the field," he continued. 

In May, Hajbi was convicted of five counts of inappropriate acts and sexual harassment towards a female soldier; his legal team worked out a plea bargain for him. 

Hajbi's accuser, IDF soldier May Fatal, sparked a media frenzy after she was harassed online for posting photos of herself in a bikini. The incident provoked a debate about victim-blaming and the female image in mainstream media.