Female soldiers decry order to leave unit for yeshiva students


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four female Israeli combat soldiers have protested orders to leave their unit because male yeshiva students will be joining it.

The four women — three commanders and a combat soldier — are serving three years in the Israel Defense Forces just like men, instead of the two years required, in order to be in the Artillery Corps’ Battalion 55. They have been serving in the unit for two years.

The yeshiva students scheduled to join the unit will serve the battery for eight months, and a total of 16 months in the army.

The women were offered alternative positions, including command roles in the commander’s course, according to Israel Hayom.

In a letter written to their battalion commander, which was read on Israel Radio, the female soldiers said the decision to remove them is "humiliating and painful."

"We are commanders, combat soldiers; we carry out our work with all our soul and the greatest motivation, and are proud to be part of the Artillery Corps," they wrote. "They are kicking us out, not because we are not good enough, but because we are women. We have nothing against the yeshiva boys and nothing against Halacha. There are battalions in the IDF that have no women in them, and these soldiers can be placed there." 
The IDF said in a response to Israeli media outlets that a final decision has not been made on the transfer and that the decision "will not affect the status and role of the female combat soldiers."

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