Haredi soldiers ordered to clean women's restroomsThis was mentioned in passing on Wednesday, but I wanted to highlight it as a separate story. Soldiers in the Nachal Charedi unit were ordered to clean women's restrooms at the Tel Nof Air Force base on Monday. They were also ordered to sit through a lecture with women soldiers. Both incidents are violations of the soldiers' terms of service.
Soldiers told Arutz Sheva that when they realized they were about to attend a lesson alongside women, they complained to their commanders. In response, they said that one of the base commanders said: "From now on, this is the procedure." He added: "We will not have exclusion of women here from now on."It would be a shame if Nachal Charedi fell apart over this. A real shame. But that's where this is headed. If the army shows that their promises are meaningless, the rabbis will come out against Nachal Charedi outright (until now, they have adopted a posture where they neither condone nor condemn it) and then no one from the Haredi community will enlist.
The soldiers said they were also instructed to clean women's restrooms as part of their routine participation in cleaning and maintaining the base. This, too, is a violation of the terms of service that stipulate that they will remain within their training area and not enter women's quarters.
Eliyahu Lax, chairman of the Association for the Torah-Observant Soldier, said that he had spoke to senior figures in the battalion who averred that the story was true. "Unfortunately," he said, "we are getting the feeling, and not for the first time, that the IDF is not interested in hareidim, and the entire issue of incentives for enlisting hareidim is simply raised in order to use hareidim as a punching bag."
The hareidi soldiers have braved the hurdle of the disapprobation of some members of their community, who feel that they are going against the hareidi way of life and that they will end up lowering their standards of religious observance. These incidents are being used to show that those anti-army elements are right.
The IDF said Wednesday that an inquiry was held into the event following the soldiers' complaints and that "instructions regarding the activities of Shachar Kachol have been refreshed in order to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future."
Some people apparently think the best solution is to cut off your nose to spite your face. Whether that includes the IDF's top brass remains to be seen.
Labels: Nachal Charedi