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Religious soldiers must attend ceremonies with women singing, IDF rules

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Religious Israel Defense Forces soldiers will not be excused from official military ceremonies at which women sing, according to an official ruling.

Monday’s decision by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz comes following the recommendation of a special committee, which also determined that soldiers could request permission to be absent from performances by females during cultural and private unit events.

Religious cadets walked out of an official ceremony last year that featured the singing of female soldiers. The cadets were removed from the officer training program.

"The IDF has room for the service of women wherever they can contribute," Gantz said last week in an interview on Army Radio. Women can “contribute operationally, they can deal with situations, they can sing, the Hebrew singer is part of our culture.”

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