Soldiers, hareidim
Soldiers, hareidimIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A senior female officer made an unusually harsh statement against hareidi Jews during a phone call to a company that sells cell phone components. Channel 10, which reported the event, said that the firm's owners are hareidi Jews.

In the course of the call, which was recorded, the officer asked the sales representative: "One second, tell me, are you hareidi?"

The sales representative asked in response: "What do you care if I am hareidi?"

The officer replied: "Because I hate hareidim. I want them all to die, the hareidim."

The IDF Spokesman said in response to the recording that "Statements like this run counter to the spirit of the IDF and its values. The matter will be looked into." The IDF noted that the officer is on a vacation abroad and that the matter will be checked with her when she returns.

MK Eli Yishai (Shas) expressed shock over the incident. "An Israeli soldier, no matter his rank, should not wear the Israeli military uniform for a single additional day, after saying such hateful things. I call on the defense establishment to take action to prevent such incidents from being repeated, and perhaps there is a need for every soldier and officer, male and female, to experience a workshop for getting to know the hareidi world, its beliefs, concepts and true contribution to the state, be it through Torah study or through wearing a uniform."

The statement by the female officer may reflect the current tension between feminists and religious soldiers in the IDF. Feminist groups want to force religious soldiers, including hareidim, to work closely with women, including female sport instructors dressed in what religious society sees as immodest garb. Religious soldiers, including hareidim, say that they cannot be asked – or forced – to enlist unless the military lets them serve in conditions that conform to their standards of modesty. Rabbis have been saying that the women's groups are trying to push religious soldiers out of the IDF.

A number of left-wing former generals have accused religious officers of blocking women's advancement in a way that “hurts women on the basis of gender and forces norms of behavior that fit a small part of the religious populace upon the entire army."