Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

Status of female soldiers in Israeli army threatened as religion reigns

by Take Two

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Female Israeli soldiers chat following an exercise of defence units in the Tel Nof army Base, center Israel, on November 14, 2012. MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

In Israel, women have already served in combat positions in the Israeli Defence forces for 20 years. Women make up 33 percent of the military, and just last year they appointed Brig. Gen. Orna Barbivai as the first-ever female major general.

After two decades of side-by-side training and fighting, Israeli women are facing very different concerns than their American counterparts.

As soldiers in the IDF become more religious, and more orthodox, physical contact required by training has caused controversy within the corps, in some cases, preventing women from advancing up through the ranks. Plus, more women are coming under pressure from orthodox rabbis to choose national service in schools and hospitals over army service.

Joining the show is Elana Sztokman, executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, who wrote about this for Slate. 

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