Mixed unit training
Mixed unit trainingHadas Porush, Flash 90

A senior official in the religious public referred to a special interview on the IDF website with the commander of the new mixed gender battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Nir Doffat. The official stated that the IDF chose a religious officer from the Shomron (Samaria) for the controversial unit as part of the IDF spokesman's plan to "change viewpoints" within Religious Zionism and to cause young religious people to enlist without fear of modesty issues during the course of their military service. There is no way to avoid modesty issues in mixed units, so the IDF is attempting to downplay their importance. Religious Zionists and their rabbis see this as a halakhic issue, not a viewpoint, and one that is not in the purview of the IDF.

Doffat(34) is a resident of Bruchin in Samaria and father of four children. During the last 15 years he has filled a number of senior positions in the paratroopers brigade and the commando units and is now leaving the paratroopers for his new position.

"I didn't expect this position," admits Doffat in the IDF interview. "If someone had asked me a number of months ago which battalion is 47, I wouldn't have known what to answer. But from the moment I entered the new role - the road to being bitten with the drive for ambition,creativity and a new mission was short. This is a great opportunity to build and develop the next generation of fighters in the IDF."

The new battalion is a mirror of Israeli society, according to Doffat. "We are defined as a mixed gender unit but I think our entire army is mixed. We have men and women. religious and secular, urban members and kibbutz members. I see this broad variety as part of the challenge and part of our goal to create a moral and just society, with people attached to one another and looking beyond the conflicts separating them."

The new unit will be responsible for security in the southern Jordan Valley, whereas the other mixed unit in the brigade will be responsible for the northern Jordan Valley area.