“A dramatic period for women’s service in the IDF”

Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel at the round-table discussion. Photo: Judah Ari Gross, IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit

Women’s Affairs Advisor Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel: “In the past decade, the IDF (Zahal) has done a great deal for women in the military”

Date: 06/12/2013, 9:56 PM     Author: Noam Witman

“In the past decade, the IDF (Zahal) has done a great deal for women in the military, but the past year and a half have been particularly dramatic years in terms of women’s service in the IDF (Zahal),” Women’s Affairs Advisor Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel said yesterday at a conference focusing on women’s service in the IDF (Zahal).

“We can see that in the IDF (Zahal) and in the state, people are finally speaking about service differentiated according to [a particular soldier’s] unit and not according to gender,” she noted, referring to the notion of determining the length of a soldier’s required military service based on the unit in which he or she serves.

The Women’s Affairs Advisor spoke as part of a round table discussion at a conference held jointly between the Israel Democracy Institute and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

The director of the INSS, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said that “there is a close connection between the issue of advancing the status of women in the IDF (Zahal) and strategic matters. In my eyes, the matter of women’s service is connected to values and to a strong military. Damaging the value of equality causes not only moral harm, but also harm to the strength of the IDF (Zahal).” The INSS director added that “the IDF (Zahal)’s quality stems from its human resources … and we can not lose 50 percent of the potential.”

In recent years the Women’s Affairs Advisory Unit has increased its efforts towards the integration of women in the IDF (Zahal) and the prevention of sexual harassment. Among their outstanding activities in the past year have been the establishment of the Counseling and Support Coordinator for victims of sexual assault and the launching of a wide-ranging education and awareness campaign to raise the level of consciousness about such issues among all IDF (Zahal) soldiers.