Major General Yiftach Ron-Tal (res.) former commander of the IDF Ground Forces, currently the CEO of Israel Electric Company, on Sunday told Galay Israel radio that the proposed plan to integrate women as Armored combat soldiers is being promoted “by entities that are trying to weaken the IDF.”
Ron-Tal said the initiative is “a scandal that will harm anything one might imagine, including the IDF’s ability.” Noting that the next goal of the women’s groups involved is to integrate women in combat infantry units.
“Anyone pushing this objective is, forgive the expression, simply nuts,” he said, adding, “Are we off our rocker? The next phase will be not just tanks, but Division 35 (paratroopers), Golani Brigade, Givati Brigade and the Nahal Brigade (combat infantry units).”
Major General Ron-Tal added that in his view, and based on material he has reviewed, behind the integration initiatives stand not feminist but leftwing groups, “whose aim is the weakening of the IDF.” Citing first-person conversations with knowledgeable sources, he warned against “interested entities who’ve been using this move, which on its face is democratic and very important … to weaken our military ability. This is terrible, I know it’s terrible, and I’m very concerned.”
The plan to integrate women in combat units was introduced last week by Head of IDF HR Gen. Eran Shani, who spoke to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. According to a senior IDF HR officer who spoke to ha’aretz Sunday, the IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, supports the plan.
An association headed by Rabbi Amihai Eliahu calling itself Tzav 1 (order 1), which supports the ability of religious soldiers to serve in the IDF in a manner that does not challenge their beliefs, has been warning that the military must choose between having Religious-Zionist soldiers or women in the tank, because they can’t have both. The association is accusing the entities behind the move of attempting to cleanse the IDF of its religious warriors.