Report: Eizenkot won't alter controversial Joint Service Order

Eizenkot tells Company Commanders Course that he refuses to change order that would force religious officers to command female soldiers.

Tzvi Lev,

Gadi Eizenkot
Gadi Eizenkot
IDF Spokespersons Unit

Despite meeting with several senior Religious Zionist rabbis a few weeks ago over the issue, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot reportedly refuses to change a controversial policy that would force religious officers to command female soldiers.

The policy in question is the Joint Service Order, which regulates the interaction between men and women in the IDF. Unlike the existing policy, the Joint Service Order does not exempt soldiers from any activity considered to be heritage education or from military memorial ceremonies, even if they include women singing. Many Orthodox Jewish men avoid listening to female singers for modest reasons. Decisions regarding other activities will be subject to the commander's discretion.

According to a report in Shvi'i magazine, Eizenkot recently told officers taking part in Company Commanders Course that he will not change the order despite significant opposition from the Religious Zionist community. Eizenkot said that despite the outcry, he believes that the Joint Service Order is exemplary and he does not intend on changing it "regardless of media spin".

Eizenkot also said that he does not see a problem with female combat soldiers as they will never cross the border into Gaza and Lebanon.

A few weeks ago Eizenkot met with prominent Religious Zionist figures, including Rabbi Yaakov Medan from Yeshivat Har Etzion and Rabbi Haim Druckman. The rabbis implored the Chief of Staff to change the Joint Service Order to accommodate religious officers, asking him to ensure that the order does not cause mixing of men and women.

Eizenkot stressed to the rabbis that the Joint Service Order has not been finalized and he is happy to hear their comments and added that the order may be changed in the future in order to allow more soldiers to serve in the IDF. However, Maariv reported shortly afterwards that the Eizenkot decided to reject appeals from the Religious Zionist sector and will suffice with changing the wording of the controversial new directive slightly to mollify religious soldiers without making any substantive changes.

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