Far-right Party Demands Netanyahu Reevaluate Women in Combat Service, 'Strengthen Family Values'

The Union of Right-wing Parties, which includes Kahanist Otzma Yehudit, called to establish gender-segregated army units for religious men in coalition negotiations

Bezalel Smotrich (left) and Rafi Peretz at a conference in Jerusalem, March 11, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Israeli far-right Union of Right-wing Parties has presented several demands to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud part as part of the negotiations that the premier is holding with the different parties in his attempts to form a government. 

Among the party's demands is that women's service in combat roles in the Israeli mlitary be reevaluated. 

The party also called for the establishment of a gender-segregated route for religious soldier, so that they "serve in a base without women and in a route where the soldiers don't have to be in contact with any woman."

Combat soldiers near Gaza, 2018.
Ilan Assayag

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The Union of Right-wing Parties, which was formed ahead of the April 9 election and includes the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party, also asked that the Religious Services Ministry open a new department to "strengthen family values among married families."

This is part of Bezalel Smotrich's vision to minimize divorce rates. The party is demanding that the new department would offer services related to "preparations for marriage" and "couple counselling, education and communication" in order to "strengthen the family unit and lower Israel's divorce rate."

The department would consult with the rabbinate and give tax credits to couples who turn to marriage counselling for a period determined by it.

The reevaluation of women in combat roles would include, according to the demands, the establishment of a subcommittee of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that would "evaluate the repercussions and influence of having women in the military's combat units."

Likud is discussing the demands but delaying decisions until the final stages of negotiations, which are still stuck due to disagreements with Yisrael Beiteinu's chair Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu has until May 28 to form a government.