Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mother taken away from nursing baby to military jail

In Israel, a young mother was arrested and separated from nursing baby for "abandoning the army illegally". I couldn't find a link to the story in English, but here's the summary: generally, Israeli young women are recruited to the army at the age of 18, for two years. Married women and/or mothers are released from service. It's also possible to be released from service for religious reasons.

The young woman in question became pregnant sometime during her two years of service, and now is the mother of a 6-months-old baby. After letting her supervisors know she's pregnant, she forgot all about army - until she heard men from the army banging at her door late at night, telling her they have an arrest order for her "illegal abandonment" of her post in the army.

Now, I cannot guarantee there hasn't been any misunderstanding. Perhaps this young mother should have presented more documents; perhaps some of the documents she presented have been lost. But obviously, the military men who came to arrest her should have seen that there was some kind of misunderstanding. However, they were "just doing their job", which meant the young mother was taken to military jail for 48 hours, with a baby left behind crying for her mother's milk - an act for which I can find no other word but inhuman, and which means no young mother in Israel is truly safe from such an intrusion. What if the next bureaucratic flip involves me, and the army comes banging at my door, demanding me to drag my pregnant belly to the nearest boot camp?

The obvious question that comes to my mind is, why do we even have compulsory service for women? Why are 18-year-old girls taken to boot camp? Women in the army is one of the "holy cows" of Israeli reality, and you'd be eaten alive for questioning it. People have tried to guilt me into silence by statements such as, "don't you know we have a terrific army that protects you every single day?"

I see a flaw in logical thinking when it comes to dealing with the question of women in the army. It's true that: (A) there are women in the IDF; and (B) we have a pretty good army. It doesn't mean, however, that A necessarily leads to B! On the contrary, I believe that overall, our army is a good one despite, not thanks to, presence of women.

In the past, a small number of women served in the army as nurses in field hospitals. They were out of the line of fire, and I doubt they even knew how to shoot. Also, their service wasn't compulsory. In Israel, the recruiting of so many young women to the army serves one main purpose: an agenda of egalitarianism and a Marxist tradition.

I've heard Israel is held up as an example in other countries where people are trying to promote more extensive recruiting of women. Yet how many of them know what is really going on in the IDF? Imagine a closed military camp which consists of about 50% of men and 50% of women, both of them at ages 18-20... trust me, the things that are happening there are far, far worse than on an average university campus. A friend of mine, who was a nurse in the army, told me that by the time they finish army, most young women are firmly on The Pill. I just have to wonder how many pregnancies happen in the army each year and are hushed up. For the record, the young mother in the first part of this post also became pregnant out of wedlock - during her service...

Of course, not all women are motivated to go to male-type units, and no one forces them, so many are sent to desk jobs. I'd say this is better than women in combat, but it's also a waste of money and resources. Each soldier costs us money - training, dressing, feeding, health care, social benefits, and so on. The huge amount of women who are unnecessarily sent to the army results in an excess of desk workers - most young girls who served as secretaries didn't pull even half their weight, there simply isn't enough work for all of them, so if they aren't crawling in the mud and shooting, many sit around polishing their nails. It's a sort of day care for highschool graduates.

Apart from the money it costs us to sustain this large number of useless uniform-bearers, there's also the matter of young women wasting several years of their life on nothing. Consider how much time is going down the drain, when instead of being given the opportunity to do something useful, young women are forced to while away a couple of years in some high-rank commander's office who needed one secretary, but was given three because there simply wasn't anything else to do with these young women. All of this is done in the name of egalitarianism. Our army could be much more organized and efficient if it consisted of men alone. But try to say it aloud, and you'll be shut up sooner than you can blink.

Free mixing of the sexes has created problems of inefficiency and decline of sexual morality in the work force as well; but consider how much worse it is when this happens in the army - efficiency of the army is a matter of life and death. Which, considering our present situation, makes me feel more than a bit unsafe.

57 comments:

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

I agree with you on all points. I cannot fathom who thought compulsory service for women was a good idea.

As for the young mother in the news story: Unfortunate as it is, the law makes no concession for a nursing mother. I hope they get to the bottom of this quickly so that she can be reunited with her baby. Babies need their mothers.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Terry, the point is, this woman was *supposed* to be automatically released from army, as a mother. Apparently, because of some bureaucratic drag, not all necessary documents were presented. But instead of allowing her to remain with her baby while matters are clarified, they dragged her to jail. Now THIS is maddening.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough one. If I were Israeli, I would want to serve my country and contribute to its defense. It would be embarrassing NOT to if all your brothers and male peers are. But I would never want to be part of an organization in which I am a second class citizen because of my sex. I also think the distinction whereby women only serve 21months and men serve 3 years is arbitrary and does not seem to serve the goal of egalitarianism.

I definitely like the idea of all the young people in Israel undergoing extremely rigorous training for national defense. I think that must have a positive effect on the culture and discipline and confidence of the younger generation.

If women aren't to see combat, perhaps rigorous work digging ditches and building bridges would be a way of performing valuable national service. I would certainly want to emerge from my national service feeling that I did something valuable and worked very hard.

I don't really have a problem with women in combat either. In the U.S. army, plenty of women have saved lives and performed meritorious service in combat even if they are not recognized as serving in such roles.

Pendragon

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find this piece of news on any of the Hebrew news sites. Did this happen recently?
I can definitely see it occuring. The mother was probably considered awol. While I think the military should deal with those who go awol in a strict manner, I also find this story heartbreaking....sometimes huge operations like the army have little room left for basic logic or compassion, and that's a pity.

Don't quite agree with you about the female draft, but it's a complex issue.
I do want to comment on the observation that most women leave the army 'firmly on the pill'. I believe the percentage of women on the pill would probably be similar in the States or Britain or any western country. Most women are sexually active by the age of 20, army or no army.
Tammy

The Quiet Life said...

I get to see this type of thing first hand here in the US. My husband is in the army. I seem to be one of very few willing to say out loud that women don't belong in the military, at the very least not in the capasities that they serve.

Linda said...

Amen to that!

A lady from Israel once told me that girls in the army were entitled to 2 or 3 free abortions.. just to show how crazy it is.. they actually have that rule made up..

Also, I had a friend who lives in Jerusalem.. she had to go into the army as well.. I was so shocked when I saw her pictures.. short hair like a man.. smoking like a man.. holding a big gun like a man.. you'd have to actually look 3 times before you'd know she even was female.... :(

greetings from the netherlands! (where, fortunately, neither men nor women are obliged to go into the army anymore)

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy, I think this happened a few weeks ago. I saw it in a newspaper.

Pendragon, there are many things women can do for our country beside digging ditches and building bridges. Women *are* physically weaker than men, and therefore it makes no sense, at least to me, to send women to physically straining jobs which they perform less efficiently, just so they would be "working hard".

Young religious women often volunteer for a year or two in hospitals, schools, etc. They perform valuable service - without going through boot camp, which compromises femininity (and I HAVE seen that... female soldiers straight out of boot camp are often un-feminine, loud, and coarse).

And here's a point of view of a woman who has been in the military:

http://coffeecatholic.blogspot.com/2008/11/another-reason-why-feminists-are.html

Little Missy Homemaker said...

This is a very sad story. I don't believe that women should be in combat. I think nursing and military desk jobs are fine for the women who choses to be there. I would be devestated if the U.S. ever decided to make my girls enlist. Of course I wouldn't feel quite the same about my boy.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Linda: I had no idea about the free abortions, but I can easily believe it. It's true many young people would be sexually active anyway, but consider how much WORSE it is when young men and women are locked up together day and night in the same camp.

As for the transition your friend went through, it's very common, unfortunately.

In Israel, our situation is such that we cannot afford our army to become a "participation by choice" thing. Men must be drafted. But women?.. Are women really useful in the army? Here's a quote from Coffee Catholic:

"There was a reason I was the only female helicopter mechanic in my squadron all those years. I watched woman after woman leave the flight line to take positions up in the offices because they couldn't hack it out there with the boys. They couldn't hack it mentally and they couldn't hack it physically. At the time I was too stupid to admit that I couldn't hack it either. I was about as usefull to my fellow helicopter mechanics as a bicycle is to a fish.

Also, if women do perform "brilliantly" in the military why do women have to receive special treatment right from the start? Don't know what I'm on about? In the military, starting with boot camp, everyone has to pass a physical readiness test. You must perform x amount of pushups, situps, and running during x amount of time. Just have a look at how many pushups and situps a woman must perform and how much longer she has to run the mile and a half compared with her male counterparts. Special treatment anyone?"

Beth M. said...

I totally agree with you about the female draft. This is one (of many) reasons Obama scares me.

Do you think the female draft and the exceptions for marriage/children encourage some young women to get married or get pregnant sooner than they would otherwise, simply in order to avoid serving in the army?

AnneK said...

It is a heartbreaking story at the very least. But I wouldn't think it is normative, it seems to be a misunderstanding. I have no problem women being in the military or anywhere else they want to be, but I am against special treatment. If you can't hack it, you don't belong there. That is why I am not a full time homemaker. I can't hack it. :) And what I hate even more is women who pretend to be all fragile and ditzy and "feminine" just to get helped by the men. Ughh.

AnneK said...

Oh and I also wanted to ask you if you don't mind answering. Were you in the Army too?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Beth,

In Israel, the overall trend is that young women are delaying marriage and children for an even longer period because of army. Like most of their American peers, they want to get a degree and become established in their careers first - and going to the army for two years means that women begin their education at 21 or 22. I was 19 when I started my degree, and I was at least 2-3 years younger than my non-religious peers.

Of course, there are people who go into fake marriages in order to get release from army (women) or other benefits (men), but such cases are rare.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anne, I got a release from army for religious reasons. However, most of my friends were in the army, so I do have an idea of what is happening there.

Like you said, I also believe that if you can't hack it, you don't belong there. Most women - apart from other considerations - simply *can't* hack it in most combat units. If a certain standard of physical performance is required, I believe it should be the same for men and women alike.

Mrs. Jacqueline said...

Stories like that are difficult for me to hear because I've lived that life. I spent 5 years in the United States Marine Corps. I am an Iraq War veteran. I'm proud of my service for my country, it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

I've experienced some horrible things, and was treated very badly by many of my male counterparts. I also had some very good experiences and I am proud of my accomplishments.

I left the service at the end of my contract so that I could stay at home with my daughter. It broke my heart to have to leave my baby with the babysitter every day.

I don't disagree with allowing women in the military. Women in the military work extremely hard, and their contributions and sacrifices shouldn't be devalued.

Technically, American women who become pregnant are able to request to leave the service. In the Marine Corps, those requests are not automatically guaranteed- they have to be approved by your Commanding Officer and they rarely are. A mother shouldn't be separated from her baby against her will under ANY circumstances. I've lived it, and the damage is irreparable.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Lots to respond to:

DESK JOBS V. PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING JOBS: Of course there are plenty of valuable desk jobs both in the military and outside of it. I am just saying that there are advantages to physically rigorous work, and that women can do this work too. (There may be physical differences across the sexes in general but it is not as though women are incapable of any kind of physical challenge.)

ISRAELI ARMY: Women in the Israeli Army is a tradition stemming from the 1948 war of independence in which women served in combat positions and combat command positions. So the very existence of the nation of Israel is due in part to fighting by women soldiers. Women's participation wasn't some made up thing but rather an organic result of roles women naturally took on in a time of crisis. And guess what? The Israeli Army, women and all, is respected around the world as a tough and fearless fighting force. As you mentioned, your country NEEDS a strong army. Israel is surrounded by enemies and I can easily imagine a crisis when your country will need all hands on deck. Isn't it a good thing that virtually all the citizens have military training?

DIFFERENT PHYSICAL STANDARDS: First of all, physical standards often have nothing to with the actual functions one performs in the military, the police or firefighting. They are simply meant to measure general fitness. There are also different standards for men of different ages in many organizations. Secondly, I've noticed that gender differences in physical standards are often arbitrary, as if the powers-that-be feel the need to bow to supposed gender differences. There are physical differences but they are certainly not as pronounced as some of these fitness standards seem to indicate. Certainly, I have found that male fitness standards to which I have been exposed (in school and with reference to police standards) are not difficult for either gender to meet with a little bit of training. (Otherwise, you would have to assume that NO woman could meet the MINIMUM standard for a man in that organization.)

I certainly think that to the extent, that fitness standards do measure one's capacity to do the job, the standards should be the same. Women and men who can't meet the standards should not be permitted to participate. If it turns out that women are less likely to meet the standards, that's perfectly fine. But don't tell me that I am automatically excluded because I am a woman.

COFFEE CATHOLIC: I don't think her rant has much credibility, notwithstanding her personal experience in the military. She is clearly someone who views any gender experience through her presuppositions regarding gender. For example, she believes that women possess a "natural femininity" (whatever that means) and that any promiscuity by women is "whorish." So yeah, given her views of women, of course she is going to think she couldn't hack her role as a mechanic, even mentally! Of course, as soon as the going gets tough, she is going to think, "It must be because I am a woman." Men don't get to opt out on the basis of sex when things get difficult and when they have difficulties they don't have the built-in excuse that "I'm only a man!"

-- Pendragon

Anonymous said...

Most women - apart from other considerations - simply *can't* hack it in most combat units. If a certain standard of physical performance is required, I believe it should be the same for men and women alike.

It may or may not be true that "most" women can't hack it in "most" combat units. But what about those who can?

As I mentioned above, I personally think that differing physical standards are also sexist in themselves. If you train, most of you can meet the male standards for your age group. (I met male standards for many organizations when I was younger, and I am an average woman.)

The belief that we can't hack it is certainly far more dangerous to us and to others.

-- Pendragon

Mrs. Anna T said...

Pendragon, like I said in my post, IDF is a strong army - let's take it for a fact; there are women in the IDF - that's also a fact. HOWEVER, it doesn't mean IDF is strong THANKS to women - on the contrary. Yes, women served in 1948, and Israel was founded in 1948 - does it mean Israel wouldn't have been founded without women in combat?? I seriously doubt it.

Many of Israel's founders were Marxists, so no wonder women's draft has been turned into something no one can speak against.

There have been bloody wars throughout history, and somehow, nations have always managed without women in combat. There were good reasons for that, which are no less valid now.

The argument that Israel needs women in the army because Israel is surrounded by enemies doesn't hold ground. There have been many countries throughout history which were surrounded by enemies. Did they attempt to draft nursing mothers? No. Is there any proof that women *strengthen* the IDF? No; it's an assumption based on tradition, which in its turn is based on Marxism/communism idealistic philosophy. People who went to the army report a very frivolous attitude in mixed units, which is inevitable when men and women freely mix. I don't believe it strengthens our army.

pearlsoftruth said...

Wow, that is so scary (mother taken from her baby). I never knew about this Israeli army/women issue. I have learnt so much from your blog, Anna. I love the 'educational' aspect of it ~ it broadens my horizons of understanding, and for that I thank you for the time and effort you put into making your blog so diverse and interesting.

Amanda
(Aust).

Mrs. Anna T said...

"It may or may not be true that "most" women can't hack it in "most" combat units. But what about those who can?"

Those who can are a minority, and should be treated as such. If there are a few women who are physically as capable as the average man in elite units, and they insist on serving the country through being part of the army, no one is standing in their way (assuming, of course, that they aren't religious - which is an entirely different story).

It doesn't justify the draft of the entire female population as paying tribute to "gender equality".

Rachel said...

Anna, I was wondering if you had ever seen the movie Schindler's List and what you thought of it. I had never seen it, though most of my friends had, since most of us watched it in school. I thought it was very sad, especially since I *know* a Jewish person.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Rachel,

Yes, I have seen Schindler's List. And trust me - any Jew who has been through the Holocaust could tell a story just as, or even more awesome and bone-chilling. As the generation of survivors is dwindling, if you know anyone who is a Holocaust survivor, take the time to talk to them.

TheRetroHousewife said...

Wow in the US women cannot be drafted and of course usually the service is volunteer. Also when a woman becomes pregnant she is given the choice of staying in or getting out. We have the same issue as you all do with the sexual promiscuity in the military..

I just think thats awful what is happening to that girl.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finding some common ground, Anna!

I do find the draft a difficult and disturbing issue. On the one hand, the draft is contrary to principles of freedom and self-determination. I can't imagine much worse than having to die (or kill others) in a war with which one disagrees. On the other hand, every nation needs a strong military and it is shameful that most of the people who fight and die in the U.S. military are underprivileged.

I view it as a pretty severe moral dilemma as a citizen. On the one hand, I would (if combat were open to me) feel obligated to sign up rather than pass my security on to poorer people. On the other hand, I would hate to be ordered into an immoral war. I worried about this a LOT as a young woman. Of course, being a woman, I had an automatic "out" of this problem since women are not technically permitted to fight anyway. But I am not really comfortable having benefitted from this "out."

-- Pendragon

Mrs. Jacqueline said...

With all due respect to The Retro Housewife...

US military women are not given the choice to opt out of military service due to pregnancy. Back in the eighties there was a choice according to regulations.

We can now REQUEST, not choose, to leave the service due to pregnancy. As I stated before, in my experience those requests are rarely approved especially in the USMC. I was told by my superiors that if I chose to submit the paperwork for such a request that it would be denied, and that I would be punished off the record.

I don't agree with the policies, but they are a reality for many of us. Becoming a mother changed me so profoundly I no longer wished to be in the military- however I did NOT have the choice to opt out of service. I would have taken it if I could.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Religious Jewish soldiers face a particularly difficult dilemma: on the one hand, protecting lives of fellow Jews is a holy mission. On the other hand, it means submitting to a secular government, which isn't conducted by the laws of Torah. It's an ongoing conflict.

Civilla said...

Thanks for this post, Anna. I learned a lot from it. I admire the Israeli people, who have said NEVER AGAIN will there be another holocaust. They are not naive people. I think that is terrible about the mother being separated from her baby. That is bureaucracy for you.

Mrs. Jacqueline said...

Pendragon:

There is no longer an "automatic out" concerning women in combat. There is no discernable front line in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many American women have died in these wars, more than in any other war/conflict in US history. A bullet or a mortar does not discriminate. I was on a base in Iraq that was supposed to be in the "rear" (not on the front line). I guess the guys firing rockets and mortars at us didn't get the memo.

It's terrifying to get shot at and the chance of death or permanent injury is very real- again, that's why I am no longer in the service. My responsibility to my daughter and family is too great, and if I had stayed in the chance I would have been sent back to war was 100%

Sorry to comment so much, this all just strikes a deep nerve with me.

Anonymous said...

This won't be a popular post, but there are many things other than women's compulsory military service of which many people are afraid to speak when it comes to Israel. Frankly, if the country is to be maintained in the current circumstances, everyone has to step up--and I see no reason why women should be given a pass when men have to put themselves at risk. And I'm very sorry to hear that you would consider the vital administrative and support positions on which _any_ military relies to be a "waste" because they happen to employ women.

This young woman's circumstances were clearly unfortunate, and something has gone wrong here. But, to me (and I am neither Israeli nor Jewish), if you want to live in Israel, a country born in the modern age, you need to be willing to defend it, whichever gender you are. Frankly, I would think the imperative would be even more present among the very religious than among secular Jews.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Jacqueline,

Thank you for pointing out that U.S. women actually ARE in combat, even if the military doesn't officially recognize it as such!
(I should note that when I was worrying about whether to join the military at the start of the first Gulf War, the general public didn't know that women would wind up in combat roles).

At the moment feminists aren't really fighting for women to be in combat so much as fighting for recognition that women are in combat.

-- Pendragon

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anonymous,

Women shouldn't be given "a pass". Retaining a suitable, traditional, supportive role isn't "a pass" - it's common sense.

Also, I agree that the army, like any large organization, cannot function without an administrative network. However, I would like to point out that in the Israeli army, this administrative network is inflated beyond any proportion due to a large number of young women who are a fifth wheel, but who are still recruited because of an "all must pitch in" ideology.

Bethany Hudson said...

I must agree with you, Anna, that compulsory drafting of all young women of a certain age is not appropriate. Personally, I do not like the draft system at all; I recognize that it is sometimes necessary, but I am grateful that we no longer employ it in my country and hope we never will again. That said, I do think that it is appropriate in our times to allow women to enter the military by choice.

I respect the system we have here in the US where women can choose to enter the armed forces; I have a few friends who were among these women. Incidentally, none of the women I knew were on birth control during their service because they were not sexually active due to their unmarried status and religious beliefs. (I think Tammy made a good point that it likely just depends on who the woman is not whether she is in the army). As others have mentioned, women have indeed contributed to the military in wonderful ways, but perhaps this is often truer of those who chose to join, rather than those who were forced to enlist.

I think if you are a single woman and you wish to serve your country in the military, then that is a noble pursuit worthy of respect and dignity. As I personally value femininity and am a bit of a pacifist, I would not wish to join the military myself, and I would not wish my daughter to join when she comes of age. However, I recognize not all women feel as I do about such things, and I respect their decision to value and live with honor and sacrifice in a different way than I do.

That said, I have trouble respecting the separation of wives and mothers from their families, whether through draft or through elected service in the military. Mothers in the US have been enlisting to fight in Iraq, some of them single, who are leaving their children at home to be raised by grandparents. I know that they feel called to serve our country, and regardless of my other opinions, I am grateful for their sacrifice, but I must say that I find such behavior reprehensible and irresponsible. As mothers, especially, we MUST take care of our children. To abandon them for a "higher calling" is something I cannot understand.

~Bethany

Anonymous said...

Listen to this:

"Drafting Our Daughters"- by Kevin Swanson

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=8107124515



- Janet

Laura Ashley said...

I HATE that I got to this post too late. Because this is exactly how I feel and what I have been trying to say for years!!! But just like you it isn't socially acceptable to criticize women in the military here. So it is difficult to find the words to say it tactfully so you can make your point without offended anyone.

I think American is so messed up for sending mothers to Iraq. Single mothers too. That isn't what women were made for. That isn't how our bodies are designed. Plain and simple. And when you become a mother your priority is the child- not spending a year away in another country in support (or actually fighting) a war. How crazy is that? Maybe if America doesn't have enough men to fight the wars we shouldn't be fighting them?

Here are some good links:

Should a Christian Join the Military:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance21.html (would apply to Jewish Americans too)

The Case Against Women in the Military:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north334.html

Guarding the Empire:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance20.html

Death of a Thousand Cuts:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/shirtz/shirtz9.html

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

This is a very sad story and one I hope comes to a good end, somehow. :o(

I won't comment on any issues pertaining to the United States military, as others have shared some very important points, especially about there being NO FRONT LINE in Iraq or Afghanistan. (I appreciate Mrs. Jaqueline bringing us this *very* important fact!)

Comparing the Israeli and American militaries are apples and oranges, IMHO. Both countries have different needs for their defense, vastly different histories, and population sizes that do not compare. The United States also has an all volunteer army at this point in time and maybe about 1-2% of our population who have sent or currently have loved ones in either of two the current wars. The amount of families touched by military service in Israel, at this very moment in time, is obviously much different.

With this in mind, I must bring up the issue that for Israel to survive, it's not just about defending her borders, but also being sure that there is a new generation to step up and take over the nation one day. I am hardly trying to claim that women are here on this earth solely to have babies, just bringing up the reality that Israel's population today is only about six million people, which isn't that great at all. Supporting motherhood by allowing wives and mothers to be excused from service does not equate these women "giving nothing" to their nation. Not only does the land itself depend on the next generation supporting her future, but so, too, does the Jewish faith. Without children being raised in observant homes, the beautiful Jewish faith is in danger from far more than just threats to the land of Israel. Raising a family in a religious household and with a love for their nation is just as important as military service for Israel's survival.

Lillian the Ponderer said...

I entirely agree with you Anna,

women have no place in combat, all "civilised" and most "un-civilised" nations have managed until the past 50-100 years to defend themselves without resorting to using women.

It may not be a popular view but you are right that even if a woman "can" doesn't mean they "should" do all the same stuff as men.

CappuccinoLife said...

I agree with you!
My husband and I are big supporters of Israel and we are just awestruck by what y'all have done with that tiny piece of land, and how you've defended it.

But...
mandatory military/combat service for women is something we have a huge, huge, huge problem with. We'd leave a country rather than let an 18 yo daughter of ours be put in that situation, precisely because of the reasons you mentioned. A hardened, testosterone soaked military camp is *not* the place for a Godly young woman. It just isn't.
We wouldn't be altogether thrilled to send our sons into the military, but by nature of the situation, they'd be better able to take care of themselves.

Anonymous said...

I am a very patriotic person, I have a son serving in the US Navy and another who will join the Navy when he finishes high school, I can honestly say though that unless my daughters wanted to be nurses or do clerical duties, I would strongly discourage them from joining. Women have no place in combat. Our military in the US should never have integrated. The WACS and WAVS were wonderful ways for women to serve their countries and should never have been eliminated. I would never allow them to be drafted either, I would move to another country before I would allow any President to force my daughters to serve. How horrible and sad that this young women was torn away from her baby like that and how horrible and sad that women in Israel are forced to serve in the military.

Machelle said...

And feminists here in the United States want women on the front lines...why?

Honestly, that's so sad. In a book I read reccently, Women Who Make The World Worse, there was a chapter on "GI Janes". in this chapter, a quote from a woman in President Clinton's cabinet was quoted as saying that to make the US military more gender-friendly, we had to eliminate masucline tendencies such as self-sufficiency and the willingness to take risks...

uh-huh. Lovely. Let's de-toughen the military. Great idea.

God bless,
Machelle

Becky said...

I had no idea that women were required to serve in the military in Isreal! That is so sad :(

Thank you also for the link to CoffeeCatholic's post. I also had no idea that Obama thought women should register for the draft. That makes me very angry (not that I liked Obama to begin with). What is this world coming to???????

Anonymous said...

I served 20+ years in the U.S. Marines. In 1986 when I first joined, the motto for the women was "free a man to fight" and if you became pregnant you had to request of your CO to remain in the service. Now, you must remain in if you become pregnant, even if you are a single mother (there does exist a loophole to get out for single pregnancy but almost everyone who uses it has to lie and ask others to do so as well.) I also knew of more than a few women who deliberately became,or tried to become, pregnant to avoid going to Iraq (they clearly stated so.)
I also served as a drill instuctor and I was able to observe male and female recruits on our combat courses and the difference was monumental, even at the end of training. In one case, there was a particularly small female left behind because she could not get over the first a-line obstacle and the first male in the platoon coming up behind her picked her up and threw her over the barrier, gear and all. The aggressiveness, strength, and speed of the male platoons was obviously far superior to any of the female platoons both at a-line and on our crucible. I won't say women should not be in the military (that would be hypocritical of me), but they should be held to the same physical standards as men and should not be drafted. (I'm not keen on American men being drafted either but for different reasons.)
I think what happened to that young Israeli woman and her baby was reprehensible.

ellammcg

Steve and Paula said...

A single mother in the military also stands a very high chance of having child services taking away their children while they are away at war, under the guise of child abandenment.
Paula

Regina said...

This is hard thing but I suppose it was up to the woman to assure that all her paper work was in order so that this may not have happened. With so many woman enlisted in the military in Israel, I am surprised that it doesn't happen more often. We must obey the laws of the land and since it is the law in Israel that every male and female serve their country, I would work more on ending such a thing. To force women into military goes against everything Jewish, so the law itself needs to be done away with. I do realise that the tiny country of Israel is constantly bombared by those that wish to see her end, but that is not a reason to force it's women into the military. Having said all of that, I can see this happening in America in the not so distant future.

Anonymous said...

I just want to clarify something that it seems some of your readership has misunderstood. The story Anna presented was an exception, an unfortunate bureaucratic blip, probably long sorted out by now. The Israeli military does NOT draft pregnant or nursing mothers (unlike the US, it seems). The moment a woman has proof of pregnancy, she fills in some forms (which apparently the young lady in question forgot to do) and is immediately released from duty. She is released in the first month or two of pregnancy, not when the baby is born.

Of course, this is regards to compulsory service for women aged 18-20. Afterwards, both men and women have the option of trying to be accepted for 'military jobs', well-paid positions with early retirement (age 40 or 45) and benefits. This is a job like any other; a pregnant woman continues to work till birth, and then receives 3 month paid leave (I think she has the option of extending to 12 months, unpaid). Military mothers are never in combat positions- although women in Israel fought long and hard to allow their daughters access to combat roles at age 18, it seems no one wants these front line positions once pregnant....so it's just not done. These mothers work 9-5 like any other office job, and like many of their male military colleagues.
I just find it unfathomable that the US drafts single parents (male or female) to combat roles and in essence makes kids homeless.

Anyway, parents in Israel are not really concerned about the female draft. Daughters can get out of it if they want, volunteering for national service instead. Most parents just hope their girls will make the most of these years, gaining either professional or personal enrichment (and a girl who becomes a combat soldier or a pilot is well-revered here by most. Or she can get a degree while serving, or technological experience. Not everyone is useless administrative overflow).

Like most parents I know, I am not too worried about the fact my daughters will likely enlist one day. What worries us far more is our sons. It's the fantasy of every Israeli parent that by the time their boy hits 18 there will be no need for the military....peace on earth...etc. Most boys of sound mind and body are taken to combat positions, and their parents suffer 3 yrs of sleepless nights and gnawing worry.
So personally, I'm all for cancelling mandatory male service, if only we could.....
Tammy

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anna,
Thank you for posting this. Thank you for your bravery in speaking the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be! I see you have hit some nerves based on the responses by some in the comments!! You know you have struck a nerve with the truth when there is so much adamant opposition to it. It is a sad commentary on how far society today has fallen when a simple truth like gender differences is considered arbitrary.

I too believe that women should NOT be in the military, particularly in combat situations. I fully realize that there are some there now. Many have given pieces of their bodies and even their lives preforming their duties in the service to our country here in the USA. Just because some have served admirably does not change the fact that they are not as physically capable as a man, and it is a violation to the duties they were designed to perform by their Creator.

Pendragon (who wrote the following):
Secondly, I've noticed that gender differences in physical standards are often arbitrary, as if the powers-that-be feel the need to bow to supposed gender differences. There are physical differences but they are certainly not as pronounced as some of these fitness standards seem to indicate. Certainly, I have found that male fitness standards to which I have been exposed (in school and with reference to police standards) are not difficult for either gender to meet with a little bit of training. (Otherwise, you would have to assume that NO woman could meet the MINIMUM standard for a man in that organization.)

This is completely not true! Gender differences are not “supposed” but are actual, physical, mental organization, created from the beginning, differences. Physical standards were set in place in order to perform specific jobs. Take the essential and life saving 'job' (task if you will) of carrying a gurney in the field. Originally, requirements for the job were for one man to be at each end of the gurney. When women were allowed in the military here in the US, the standards changed to two persons, one at each corner of the gurney. That was only because a woman is not physically as strong as a man and it takes twice as many 'resources' to get the job done with women 'in the field'. If you have found fitness standards not difficult for either gender to meet, it would only be because you are only being required to meet the weakened, softer standards that have been reduced & made 'gender neutral' from what they were previously. The sheer muscle mass of a man as compared to a woman is completely different! Men have far greater muscle mass size for size than a woman, thereby allowing those men to out perform any woman of the same size in tasks requiring brute strength (ie carrying gurneys to save fellow soldiers lives). Not only are the standards softer to accommodate the weaker woman, but general society has become less physically fit than in times past. The US Air Force physical fitness regime is quite beyond most flabby Americans today. As the educational standards are lowered to meet a less and less educated public, so too are the physical standards lowered to accommodate a less and less physically fit population.

My wonderful, manly husband is retired from the United States Navy. He went through boot camp when it was rigorous, strenuous and a time of difficult training for the average military man. Now the boot camps are far less strenuous, the requirements are lowered far below what they were in order to accommodate the weaker female in job categories that she is not physically capable of performing without the physical standards being lowered. There were a few women in his field as an airplane technician. They could not physically lift the heavier parts of the planes that were required to be changed or worked on. So one of the guys would have to go rescue her and do her job and their own. The women did not have the strength to hoist the heavy tool box, take off at a run out to the tarmac to fix whatever came up. And those tool boxes only contained basic essential tools!

It used to be that when a female US recruit came up pregnant she would be released from her obligation of service. I knew of a few who deliberately got pregnant in order to get out of the military. The US military did not used to perform or pay for abortions, but sadly I believe they do so now at taxpayer expense.

It is just not reasonable to believe that women and men have the same physical capabilities. It is the pathetic attempt to make society egalitarian. In trying to make everything 'equal' unnaturally so, the society is degraded and the gender differences that we were designed with are made superfluous. The women are no longer feminine and the men are no longer manly. I'll take my manly husband any day over these girly-men that today's egalitarian society is producing. And we are training our sons to be real men. Real men who will protect women as the weaker gender. Real men who will take the leadership in whatever family God blesses them with, as God designed then to. Real men who will provide for whatever family God blesses them with and has their wivees stay at home with whatever children they may be so blessed to have. Real men who would fight in the service to their country in order to protect the hard won freedoms we now hold so callously. Real men who puts women and children first, as the real, manly, honorable men did when the Titanic sank. Our daughters are trained to be feminine, keepers-at-home, who welcome any children as blessings from God. To be a true help-meet/suitable helper to whatever husbands God may bless them with.

Viva la Difference!!
Blessings,
~Mrs. Evelyn Mae R.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy,

Thanks for the clarification. Yes, married pregnant women ARE released from compulsory service, usually without any problems (I'm not talking about those who signed up for a military career). Yes, this was probably a bureaucratic blip, which as far as I know has been solved by now. Yes, as long as the law exists, she should have arranged her paperwork.

However, when the men who came to arrest her saw her with a baby, they weren't supposed to say "we don't care you have a nursing baby, it's your problem". She should have been allowed either to remain at home to arrange her paperwork, or arrangements should have been made for her to remain with her baby, wherever she was taken. Under no circumstances she should have been separated from a baby who depends on her for nursing!!

Also, I'm not sure what you mean about young women being released from service "if they want". Unless a woman is religiously observant, as far as I know, she can't get away from army just like that.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Mrs. Evelyn, thank you so much for sharing your valuable, based-on-experience insight. I only wish voices like yours could be heard among those who propose making military "more accessible" to women without really knowing what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I know you probably know this, but not only 'married pregnant women' are released from service, as you say, but also single pregnant soldiers. Actually, either marriage or pregnancy will get a female soldier an automatic release.

I didn't mean to imply a woman can get out of the army 'just like that', although I can see my choice of words was careless. I just meant to say it's much easier for her to do so than for a man. She can declare she's religious (and do national service if she wants, or do nothing). Most men cannot do this, unless they are ultra-Orthodox full time yeshiva students (as an aside - I find that deplorable, and cannot comprehend why these men are let out. But that's another topic). A woman can marry, or get pregnant....a male soldier who marries or fathers a kid is still not released from duty.
Most importantly, a girl can spend her entire 2 yrs in the military serving at a school or with a youth group or any other number of positions that do not require she join a testosterone loaded camp.

My point (long-winded, I know) was that women have it easier in the army. They have several options to get released, and they don't have to fight in combat once in. That's why most Israelis are far more worried about their sons in the army than their daughters.
Tammy

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Evelyn Mae R.

You may have misunderstood me. I never said that there are no gender differences. Obviously, there are very significant physical differences between the sexes.

When I said "supposed" gender differences, I am referring to the fact that women's capabilities tend to be grossly underestimated. Some of the differences in physical standards are arbitrary in that many, probably most, women can meet the men's minimum standards for their age group in school, in the police, in the fire department. (I don't know about the military, but I am guessing it is the same situation.)

And I AGREE with you that the standards should be the same for both sexes and should not be lowered - -even if that means fewer women are admitted to certain jobs.

-- Pendragon

Buffy said...

Another long and interesting discussion, and it's good to see so many different opinions offered without anyone being obnoxious (or maybe you deleted those comments?).

I don't see why women shouldn't join the army, although I agree they shouldn't be sent into the front line. However, there are many tasks performed in the army that women are perfectly capable of doing. Look at what went on in Britian during the Second World War. (Obviously I'm not talking about women with young children.)

I am not sure about the bootcamp idea. I look at some young women and think it would do them good, but I definitely wouldn't mix males and females!!

However, it's not a bad idea to have both sexes perform some kind of national service as young adults. As Anna said, this could be nursing or teaching. It might stop some of the useless drifting you see in so many school leavers now.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

I been to Israel several times and also have friends there, one particular friend has 2 daughters, both in the army, and one has gone on to combat, while one, though not in combat, is working at a state funded retirement home,(her military given duty) not "polishing her nails" in an office somewhere. Both the Father and Mother are extremely proud of both their sons and daughters military service, and while they would rather not have to worry as parents about the safety of their children, they understand the need for a large well- trained army in Israel given the many enemies Israel has. I believe that while there are of course some problems with the system, as there are with every system, the Israeli army does wonderful things that many other countries armies do not, such as teaching the young recruits their countries amazing history. As I stated at the beginning of this rather long comment (sorry) I have been to Israel many times, and each time I have seen young Israeli army members at the historical sites learning their history. I think this is a wonderful thing. This incident with the mother is terrible, but hopefully it is only an isolated incident and not “business as usual” thank you for your blog, I really enjoy it, blessings to you during the last months of your pregnancy.

Rachelle

Mrs. Anna T said...

"the Israeli army does wonderful things that many other countries armies do not, such as teaching the young recruits their countries amazing history"

Sadly, most of the history lectures soldiers are getting in the army are nothing more and nothing less than left-wing agenda brainwashing...

MarkyMark said...

Ladies,

As a US Navy vet who served prior to women being placed on warships, I naturally have a thing or two to say about this subject. Here are my thoughts WRT women in the service....

Number one, anyone promoting military service for women is an IDIOT! They don't know what they're talking about, because they've never served. They have NO IDEA about the unique stresses and demands that military life makes on its members. As Coffee Catholic pointed out and I second, those pushing coed military have never served themselves.

Number two, the life in the military isn't like it's portrayed on TV; there is no such thing as doing another take of the scene. Neither is there the possibility of choreographing fights or battle scenes to make women look good. If you're bringing ANY weaknesses to the fight, combat will expose them real quick like!

Number three, the military is NOT like a 9-5 job; you do not get to leave at the end of the day. Not only do you work with the people in your unit; you eat, sleep, shower, and if necessary, fight with them too. That alone changes things a lot...

Number four, by bringing women in to the mix, the fighting men WILL be distracted; for that matter, everyone will be distracted. And why not? You have young people mixing together, and it doesn't take much to get their hormones pumping than steam in a boiler room going full tilt! To put it another way, these young people will be thinking of gettin' laid; if they're thinking about sex, then they're being DISTRACTED FROM THEIR MISSION-end of story! That's why they're there-to perform their mission.

Five, let's face facts: women aren't cut out for combat-end of story. Oh, a select few are, but the vast majority are not. Given the critical nature of the armed forces, they need to be run in accordance with the RULE, not the exception, and the rule is that women are not cut out for combat. Physically and emotionally, women are not cut out for combat. If you wish to argue that point, then I'll simply tell you to watch footage from 9/11 when everyone but the firemen were running out of the World Trade Center; the women were coming UNGLUED, whereas the men were not.

Keeping your cool is a MUST in combat, otherwise it's impossible to engage in the quick, correct, life & death decision making that the combat environment entails. It's not like in the office where, if you press the wrong button on the computer, you wipe out the file. The stakes are far higher, like life & death-not only for yourself, but your mates too. I'm not saying that women's emotional nature is a bad thing, but it will NOT be an asset on the battlefield.

Then, there's the nature of physical strength. Did you know that the average woman has about 1/3 LESS upper body strength than a man does? What do you think will happen when she has to carry 80-100 pounds (36-45 kg) EXTRA on her person, hmmm? That's what your average army man is carrying once he's suited up for combat. What if she has to help carry a fellow, wounded soldier off the field, hmmm? Oh, and she'll be USELESS on an artillery piece or in a tank too! Why? Artillery and tank men have to carry and load the shells, and those suckers weigh can weigh 70-80 pounds, depending on the type of ammunition. There are also powder charges that have to be loaded too, so you can send that shell on its way; the powder charges weigh 45 pounds or so. BTW, the shells and powder charges need to be handled and fired QUICKLY, because: 1) it means either getting the first shot on target, or 2) getting more shots on target. You want to do both, because it gives you a better chance to live and win.

Finally, there's the issue of unit morale and cohesion. When you mix women with men, that'll break down. You'll have love triangles and all the drama that goes with them. Asking an obvious question, how does this HELP the military achieve its mission aims? I can't see that it does.

In closing, mixing the sexes in the military is just a BAD IDEA. Women aren't cut out for combat, so they shouldn't be there. Unit morale and effectiveness are both compromised. The military has a very simple, yet critical mission: protect national security-that's it! Anything that diminishes the ability of the armed forces to perform its primary duty should not be part of it. Women in the service is one such hindrance that should be removed. Since CC pointed it out, I can't recall anyone pushing a coed military as being a veteran. Those of us who've served know better. Thank you, and those are my thoughts...

MarkyMark

Gombojav Tribe said...

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet (too many comments to read!), but President-Elect Barack Obama favors having women register for the Selective Service (the Draft). I blogged about it pre-election:

http://gombojav.blogspot.com/2008/10/can-i-add-eleventh.html

Completley illogical.

Karen said...

I agree that taking a nursing mother away from her infant for 48 hours is inhuman. I say that as a nursing mom myself. That just should not have happened, but that's one of the horrible side effects of gender "equality" is that we cease to value women as mothers.

Thank God they don't draft women here. I have no desire to be in the military and never have. It's just not what I want to do with my life. I'm really not much for war in general to be honest. Though I do realize that having a strong military is important and of course some jobs that serve our country have little to do with war. I believe in just war and not all wars we get involved in are just. And not all battles within a war are just. I know I couldn't (and wouldn't want to) mentally handle a position where I had to do whatever I was told on a moments notice, whether it was right or wrong, especially if lives were at stake. And that has nothing to do with my being a woman that's just my personal view. Frankly it scares me that people can be like that, just so unquestioning about thier mission. I think if women want to be in the military, that is their business, but I personally have no business there and I'm glad I don't have to be. Also even if I weren't a woman I would not have to go because of my eyesight.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

It is sad if ,as you say, the historical teachings are nothing more than "left-wing brainwashing". I think it is important to note that I have been in several places in Israel listening to a guide speak, or listening to the information presented by the site (the Jerusalem Archeological Park for example) and have had groups of soldiers with me in my group. The information presented was Biblically accurate as well as historically accurate; I was not being fed some "left-wing" agenda. I guess there are exceptions?

-Rachelle

Anonymous said...

I have also heard the lectures given to soldiers and would not call them 'left-wing brainwashing'. Among other places, they are taken to the caves beneath the Western Wall, where the lecturers are often religious themselves.

I suppose some of the teaching is left-wing, as some of the military teachers will be of that sway. However, the military on the whole is not left-wing; secular perhaps, but not what I would call left-wing.

Have you heard the lectures yourself, Anna? Or perhaps someone with extreme religious/right wing views gave you his impressions?