The Israeli defense forces, which draft women in addition to men, were criticized sharply on Saturday after they removed a feminist air force video, previously shared on social networks, which lauded female soldiers’ contributions in the military sphere.
According to the religious website Srugim, the video was taken down after it tweeted that the video was provocative.
Israel: A clip on the occasion of the women's day that was published on the Facebook page of the Israeli Air Force and removed. 10.03-2018 pic.twitter.com/IYUgjA3wLv— Rowan Van Dijk (@Lastkombo) 10 марта 2018 г.
The move triggered a storm of criticism from female opposition lawmakers. For instance, Zionist Union’s Tzipi Livni wrote on Twitter that the rhetoric voiced by religious conservative activists is much the same as what they say about successful women in any walk of life – from combat to politics.
She called for the "forceful" sharing of the video, saying that a proper army does not equate to a religious army.
Proof: Misogyny in Israel. 👇 Jewish women are NOT free. https://t.co/uKhR8tXOyJ— Sunil Kumar (@SunilKumarAus) 10 марта 2018 г.
Stav Shaffir, also from the Zionist Union, was also quick to slam the move. "If this excellent video was taken down, that’s very sad," she said, singling out Srugim. She underscored that there is an inconsistency between Srugim’s calls and the website’s reportedly "Zionist" agenda. She expressed certainty that the air force would by no means be intimidated "by this nonsense."
The video, entitled "the air force’s answer to chauvinism," was shot by media personnel at Air Force Magazine and is “not an official product of the IDF Spokesperson’s Office,” the army said in a statement. It features a voiceover from women soldiers, summing up the criticisms they are bombarded with:
"There are those who say woman can’t be warriors — they just can’t physically, they are not built for it physiologically, they should be home with the children," says one woman.
The voiceover is accompanied by impressive real action shots of female air force soldiers racing through an obstacle course, laboring as air traffic or drone controllers, as well as transport mechanics. The visual seems to be meant to send jabs at combat woman stereotypes and everything that has to do with them allegedly failing to shoulder men’s responsibilities. The footage reveals an opposite story.
Great video of women serving in Israeli Air Force. Followed by Outcry as IDF removes video celebrating female air force soldiers | The Times of Israel https://t.co/2nIDrL1K57— Baruch Frydman-Kohl (@Ravbaruch) 11 марта 2018 г.
The issue has lately proved to be really sensitive, since a number of religious enthusiasts roasted Israel’s current policy of relying on female soldiers. Nationalist rabbis openly called against attempts by the army to open up even more combat positions for women and mixed units alike. Notably in January, Tzvi Kostiner, the head of a pre-army religious academy in southern Israel, blamed the IDF for seeking "to destroy" Israeli families.
He emotionally warned religious women not to "dare" enlist but remain guards of the hearth – the social role that women have traditionally been supposed to perform. Rabbi Tzvi Kostiner claimed that co-ed military service has caused women to leave the army due to emotional problems, injuries, and harassment, which have a long-term effect on their lives.
"All this mixing is immodest. Today the entire army is one giant mixture,” he told a meeting of female teenagers in Jerusalem called “Femininity: A matter of essence," he said.