Earlier today, members of the IDF General Staff, led by the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, discussed the main conclusions and recommendations that were determined by the team led by Head of the Personnel Directorate, Major General Orna Barbivai, concerning the various aspects of the combined service of men and women in the IDF.
The team identified the conflicting issues of the matter, in an attempt to establish an updated policy, codified in the IDF orders, which would guide commanders as they conduct their daily responsibilities.
The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz emphasized that the sole authority in the IDF and its units are the commanders, and no other. The commanders will determine, without any external interference, the unit’s nature and way of conduct, in accordance with IDF protocol and relevant commands.
The committee discussed the issue of women’s singing in public, concluding that IDF female soldiers will continue to sing at every IDF event. During official events, memorial ceremonies, special ceremonies held in the presence of grieving families, Israeli Fallen Soldiers Remembrance day ceremonies, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance day ceremonies, Yitzhak Rabin Memorial day ceremonies, Honor ceremonies as well as Graduation ceremonies, attendance of soldiers will be mandatory, with no place for commanders to decide otherwise.
The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz also accepted the recommendation of the team and decided that soldiers who wish to be excused from extracurricular events which include women’s singing may do so if authorized by their commander. Commanders may exercise their judgment during the remainder of events, in line with the relevant protocols and as deemed necessary in the given event.
In conclusion, the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, determined that women’s singing is not prohibited, and that it is important to maintain the heritage of the IDF as part of Israeli culture.
In addition, in line with the responsibility of the Head of the Education and Youth Corps, meetings between rabbis or heads of Talmudic colleges and their student soldiers will be approved prior to doing so by the Chief Military Rabbi. Also, a representative of the Military Rabbinate will attend any such meeting, and will ensure that it is in accordance with the values of the IDF.
The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz emphasized that “the IDF must be an army of purpose, unity and uniqueness. Purpose- in facing our mission to maintain security, uniqueness- in our moral values and national and social commitment, and unity in facing the challenge of being a “Melting Pot” in the Israeli society.”
The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz added that “above any fracture within Israeli society are the guiding principles of unity, formality, and equality, overpowering any differences”.