This past year, the IDF (Zahal) has made huge progress towards equality. Gender and sexuality-based discrimination no longer has a place in democratic militaries. This is only the beginning, but here a few exciting policy changes that we made in 2015.
1. IDF (Zahal) Policy Supports Equality for Same-Sex Parents
New policy ensures that same-sex couples won’t have to simultaneously report for reserve duty.
Major (res.) Etai Pinkas (41, left), is a Bereavement Officer for the IDF (Zahal) Municipal Office in Tel Aviv. His husband, Major (res.) Yoav Arad-Pinkas (42, right), is a commander in the IDF (Zahal). The two are busy raising their three daughters (left to right): Gal (5), Noa (5) and Or (1).
“This new regulation means that in case of a national emergency – I know that my daughters won’t be left at home without a parent. As a father, this is very reassuring.”
– Maj. (res.) Etai Pinkas.
2. Lieutenant Shachar Becomes First Openly Transgender Officer in the IDF (Zahal)
Lieutenant Shachar joined the IDF (Zahal) as a woman. Throughout his military service, he went through the unique and complicated process of changing his gender.
“I wear a men’s uniform because that’s how I feel. My whole life I’ve known I’m a man, despite the fact that I was born a woman. I think, feel, and identify as a man.”
– Lt. Shachar
3. New IDF (Zahal) Policy to Recruit Soldiers with HIV
A regulation change will ensure that people with HIV can join the military just like any other soldier.
“This process is a significant step towards shattering stereotypes about people with HIV. I’m happy that the IDF (Zahal) understands that HIV-positive people can contribute in their military service just like anyone else.”
– Yuval Livnat, CEO of the Israel Aids Task Force
4. First Female Combat Soldiers Guarding in Nablus
Female combat soldiers are sent to the frontline of Israel’s war on terror.
“We guard day and night, barely sleeping, so that the citizens can feel protected.”
-Sgt. Yanina Jatemliansquy