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IDF Nixes Feminism Course For Women Officers, Anticipating Religious Backlash

The Israel Defense Forces canceled a series of feminism workshops for its top female officers, after deciding the activity would antagonize religious elements that want to limit women’s military role.

Titled “Preparation for the Development of Gender Consciousness and Leadership,” the program would have taught women officers the basics of feminist thought and encouraged them to discuss ways to make the military more egalitarian.

It was also supposed to feature meetings with women leaders in other sectors of society, including business, non-profits and education.

According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, plans for the 10-part seminar were scrapped in order to “keep the IDF in the heart of consensus.”

Despite complaints from hardline religious leaders, the IDF has maintained and expanded its commitment to letting women serve in high-level combat roles - a sharp departure from traditional gender roles enforced by those rabbis.

Yigal Levinstein, a rabbinical leader at an important pre-military academy, articulated the conservative view, getting into trouble for recent comments about IDF women.

“They’re driving our girls crazy,” he said. “They draft them. They go in Jewish and they’re not Jewish when they come out; not in terms of genetics. Their whole system of values becomes confused, their priorities – home, career.”

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

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IDF Nixes Feminism Course For Women Officers, Anticipating Religious Backlash

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