A screenshot from the Israeli air force's video.

'Caved to Religious Pressure': Israeli Army Takes Down Women's Day Video Empowering Female Soldiers

A religious Zionist website says the 'defiant' video, which promotes gender equal military service, was removed at its request

The Israeli army took down a video from the internet encouraging equal military service for men and women. The video went viral after it was posted on the Israel Air Force website on Thursday to mark International Women’s Day.

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Israeli army takes down Women's Day video empowering female soldiers

The religious Zionist website Srugim said the “defiant” video was removed at its request. The army said the video had not been properly approved for posting on the web by the Israel Defense Forces' spokeman's office.

The video shows female soldiers in a variety of roles in the air force, while the narration enumerates the claims of rabbis in the religious Zionist movement against women serving in certain roles in the army, for example, because they have no physical strength or need to look after their children.

“Women can’t be combat soldiers, they simply aren’t built for it, they just can’t do it physiologically,” the narration states, while video clips are shown of women fulfilling a variety of functions and tasks. “It’s 4 P.M. Shouldn’t you be home? They say women can’t serve in operational roles; her poor children, her poor husband. Women can’t drive, so they can fly a plane?” The video ends with a female pilot getting into the cockpit of a fighter jet.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office responded: “The video was prepared by the media staff of the air force magazine and is not an official product of the IDF spokesman’s office. Without relating to its content we note that it was not approved as required of products published on the IDF’s platforms. As a result of this, procedures on the matter will be defined.”

The chairwoman of the Knesset Control Committee, MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) said in response: 

“This is an offensive surrender of the IDF to ignorant elements in religious Zionism, who don’t even represent their own community, and a slap in the face of women soldiers and officers.” 

MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) said: “It’s good to know that the IDF is concerned over feelings, so it should also be concerned for the feelings of women soldiers and should dismiss the chief military rabbi and the rabbis of the pre-army programs and the religious soldiers and officers who offend not only the feelings of women but their actual rights as well. It’s time to put an end to this inequality.”

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