Knesset Committee to Tackle IDF's Gender Issues

Haaretz reported Wednesday the IDF froze implementation of a report submitted four years ago by special military committee due to pressure from generals and religious figures.

A Knesset committee will convene in the next few weeks to deal with the IDF's failure to implement a report calling for full equality between men and women in the military.

Haaretz reported Wednesday that the IDF had frozen the implementation of the report, submitted four years ago by a special military committee headed by Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yehuda Segev, due to pressure from both generals and religious figures.

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima ) asked the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima ) to hold an urgent debate on the issue in order "to examine ways to implement the Segev committee's report."

"The IDF needs women in its most significant units, in combat and in combat-supporting outfits," Plesner said. "I demand, together with other Knesset members, convening the committee to make sure the defense establishment carries out the required gender integration."

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz ) called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to make it unequivocally clear that the IDF must adopt the Segev report and implement complete gender equality in all military positions. Blocking positional options for women violates the High court of Justice's explicit ruling in the Alice Miller case, she said.

A senior officer in the IDF's personnel directorate denied the Segev panel's claim that "nothing had been done" but admitted only partial progress has been made more than four years after the report was submitted to the General Staff. He admitted, however, that the IDF had failed to reduce the number of women claiming religious exemption - many of these claims are assumed to be false and intended solely to dodge the draft.

As for the Segev report's recommendation to adjust the length of military service to the soldier's position rather than to his or her gender, the senior officer said, "This would mean shortening length of service for men. In our estimation, this cannot be implemented until 2016 because it would create gaps in filling crucial posts."