MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) responded today to a campaign encouraging female combat enlistment led by the IDF Spokesman following the appointment of female Major T. to be commander of an aviation squadron.
In a Reshet Bet radio interview Smotrich said that he "is not enthusiastic about this campaign, and at the end of the day there are professions and roles for men and there are professions and roles for women. That's the way the Creator made the world, and that's good for the world.
"Woe to us if women become men and men become women. The world needs the masculine and feminine roles, and whoever tries to blur these clear distinctions does an injustice to himself and to the world," said the MK.
Smotrich emphasized that young religious Zionist men are enlisting in large numbers to the IDF, and called on the army to allow the necessary conditions for the religious soldier's lifestyle. "This is its purpose; the IDF must win wars and not promote all kinds of enlightened and liberal values, and for this it must allow the fighters and the entire army to be faithful to its purpose."
"We handle quite a few inquiries, we dealt a great deal with the issue of mixed-gender service. There were successful changes, and there are things that still have to be fixed," MK Smotritch said.
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) responded angrily, "The filthy mouth of Israeli politics does it again. It would be a good idea for Bezalel Smotrich to internalize the fact that no-one's interested in his goods anymore. Most of Israel's citizens are going forward and oppose such insane and primitive statements."
"The Israeli public is stronger and will continue to fight extreme fringe phenomena such as those opposed to joint service and those who advocate exclusion of women - this is not Israel's way of doing things and not the way of the 21st century," Zandberg said.
MK Stav Shafir (Zionist Union) also attacked Smotrich, "Among the waves of mire and ignorance Smotrich cast this morning at our courageous squadrons, only one detail is true: There are few women in the pilot's seat. This is because too few apply for selection."
"A bill I submitted will change this: Girls will be required to attend a selection if they are summoned, just like boys. Once they are already in the course, the facts prove that their chances of success are the same," she claimed, although the IDF has lowered physical standards for female combat soldiers.
MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beyteinu) said in response to Smotrich's remarks, "Bezalel, I invite you to learn about Lydia Litvak, a Jewish pilot, a heroine of the Soviet Union, who downed at least 12 Nazi planes in World War II. Learn about thousands of female fighters in the undergrounds and the IDF who sacrificed their lives in protecting and defending the State of Israel and the freedom you live in. This exclusion of women has no part in the Jewish religion and reflects dangerous extremism and ignorance."
The current controversy, however, is not about women in the IDF - women have always been in the IDF, although the Chief Rabbinate is against it and the IDF allowed for religious exemptions as a result. The argument concerns the IDF allowing women to join combat units where one of the results is that religious combat soldies are faced with untenable halakhic siutations. MK Smotritch responded to the assault in his Twitter account: "The scenario has become instinctive to fundamentalist liberalism - someone dares express a classic conservative stance and the Pavlovian artillery is deployed with a vengeance... Have a good time, guys. The physiological and psychological differences between men and women will not disappear, even if you keep on with your diatribes for another hundred years ... this is the nature of the world and mankind."