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Israel says it wants more women to join the army

The Israeli army regularly comes under fire for human rights abuses [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2019

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The Israeli army is looking to increase the number of women serving in its forces.
The Israeli army is looking to raise the number of female recruits according to a media report released on Tuesday.

According to Israeli news outlet Maariv, the Israeli army is looking to increase its number of women serving by 40 percent after a steady growth of women joining the ranks.

Women in the Israeli army has already increased by 27 percent with a record breaking number 1,000 women joining the Israeli army in the summer of 2018 alone.

According to Maariv, the total of women serving in the army has now reached 2300 recruits.

Tokenism at the expense of Palestine

Despite the growth, the Israeli army has been criticised for its tokenism of women to whitewash the oppression of Palestinians - especially women and children.

"When it comes to some of the intersections of gender and race, it feels as though the particular violence experienced by women living under occupation, dodging drones and white phosphorus, or being raped and killed by groups created in the aftermath of US-western military occupations, are completely overlooked," activist Malia Bouattia wrote to The New Arab in an article.

"Individuals such as Gal Gadot can be an IDF supporter and former soldier, in defense of the illegal occupation of Palestine, and at the same time be presented to us as a 'sister' in the struggle, who bravely leads by example for girls and women around the world," she added.

Sexism within Israeli ranks

Israeli women themselves have complained of sexism within army ranks.

Israeli women are subjected to extra "modesty rules" which ban them from wearing white shirts at training bases and smoking around men to prevent them being subjected to "womanly temptation" on duty, a report released last year claimed.

The report by Israel's Women's Network showed how women in the army are being made to comply with rules that restrict the way they dress, their army training and interaction with male colleagues, as the influence of more observant Jews in the army grows.

The increase in such modesty codes has made women feel less comfortable training and has put them at a higher risk of sexual harassment, the report said.

Women soldiers complained that were that they are not allowed to take off their bras when they are awake.

"Throughout my basic training and my course, they forced me and my friends to have a bra under our uniforms," one female soldier, whose name has been withheld said in the report.

"There are two minutes between the inspection at the end of the pre-sleep hour and lights out. If we tried to remove our bras even then, we were caught and given a warning," which could become a punishment," the source said.

"The only 'legal' option was to take off your bra lying down in bed after lights out."


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