Female soldiers mark Hanukkah
Female soldiers mark Hanukkah Israel news photo: Flash 90

The press storm regarding "women's exclusion from the public domain" was still in full fury Thursday as Yediot Aharonot's lead story was about an incident of women's "exclusion" from a Hanukkah event for a mixed-sex combat unit, Karakal.

The newspaper says that women in the unit took part in a candle lighting ceremony at the Givati Brigade's basic training base, where they are serving. A hassidic singer who performed for the troops asked them to move to the back of the group, they claimed. In protest, some of the girls went to their tents rather than participate in the ceremony.

Arutz Sheva has uncovered a different version of events, however. It seems that at no time were the women asked to move to the back of the group.

A person who was present at the event said: "This is a hassidic singer who performs voluntarily at IDF bases, and on every day of Hanukkah he performed at a different base, handed out sufganiyot and sang for the soldiers as they danced."

"Before the event started, the singer made clear that if the event includes actual dancing, he requests that the dancing take place in separate circles for boys and girls, without a partition and without separating those present. And indeed, when the time for dancing came, it was carried out in two separate circles."

"At a certain point two or three girls entered the boys' circle in the course of the dancing and the singer gently asked them to go back to their circle."

”It appears that one of them did not like the fact that she was told what to do, and following internal tensions that exist there, decided to 'blow up' the story [in the press] in an inaccurate and untrue way. None of the girls who were present went to her tent at any stage. They all stayed until the end and sang 'Ani Maamin' with us," he added.

"Throughout all of the stages of the ceremony and the dancing… the girls were full participants, they danced, sang, lit candles and uttered blessings, and I really fail to understand where this story came from."