Israeli General: Army Should Have Reacted Stronger When Paratroopers Turned Back on Female Instructor

Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz says that 'cases involving the exclusion of women and harm to women in the army constitute a serious problem for commanders'

Israeli general Moti Almoz, 2017.
Tomer Appelbaum

Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz, who heads the Israel Defense Forces Manpower Directorate, said Thursday that the military could have reacted with a stronger response to the 30 religious soldiers training to be paratroopers who turned their backs on a female instructor. 

Following his meeting with the Israel Women's Network, Almoz said that "cases involving the exclusion of women and harm to women in the army constitute a serious problem for commanders." They would be dealt with, he added. "We will not make do with statements and headlines but instead will deal with the subject in a substantive manner," he said.

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"We know that the army's leadership is committed to equality for women in the IDF, and it is still necessary to deal with individual needs," the director general of the Israel Women's Network said at the end of the meeting.

On Wednesday, the instructor's mother, media personality Shira Magalit, took to Twitter where she made the incident publicly known, thus informing the IDF along the way.

“I could barely sleep last night, after a hard day in which I had to hear that my soldier daughter Noa, a parachute instructor, tells me that while demonstrating an exercise before 70 soldiers, 50 of them turned their backs on her because she is a woman!” Margalit tweeted.

The army verified the story following the tweet.

The soldiers' commander told them that under army orders, instructors would not be chosen by gender and any trainee who disrespects an instructor will be thrown out. The IDF spokesman added that the IDF stresses uniformity in its ranks in all activities regardless of religion, race or gender.

It was also reported that one of the soldiers' instructor had allowed them to lower heads when the female instructor was talking. "This is a mistake made by the instructor," the spokesman said.