Don’t send women to the front lines

Women’s rights matter far less to progressives than eroding nationalism.

IDF Bardales Battalion troops prepare for urban warfare training on a foggy morning, near Nitzanim in Southern Israel, on July 13, 2016. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
IDF Bardales Battalion troops prepare for urban warfare training on a foggy morning, near Nitzanim in Southern Israel, on July 13, 2016. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Arnon Itiel
Arnon Itiel

The Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff has decided to launch a pilot program that will allow women to try out for the army’s elite search and rescue unit, 669. Before delving into all the rhetorical acrobatics, I’ll lay out my opinion in the frankest possible terms: Sending women to the front lines is reprehensible and immoral, and runs counter to human nature. To protect, fight and be willing to give your life for your family is a man’s job. In my view, this is a type of moral axiom, and as such requires no further explanation.

I’ll be the first to stand and applaud any woman who completes the training course for an elite reconnaissance unit; there’s no contradiction there. What more can be said of a person who chooses the most difficult option and succeeds against all the odds? Such a person is deserving only of respect and profound admiration. My two daughters are named after women warriors. However, there’s a clear line between an individual who chooses her own fate and a society determining its moral guidelines—or in our case, erasing them.

To the grumbling conservatives who had their afternoon naps ruined by the chief of staff’s decision, I say: fear not. Women will not be integrated into combat roles in the foreseeable future.

The ritual is a familiar one: A military review committee is created, it opposes integrating women in combat roles and the initiative is shelved. Then a petition against the IDF is submitted to the High Court of Justice, which stands the army at attention and orders it to let women fight. The army creates a pilot program, and a review committee concludes that women should not be integrated in such a manner. And round and round we go.

My research has revealed that since 1999, 10 such reviews have been carried out by various professional military bodies with expertise in physiology, combat doctrine, combat medicine and more. Even Unit 669 conducted its own review and came back with the same conclusion.

Yes, this issue has been forced on the army by the court, but this doesn’t absolve it of responsibility. Similar to previous chapters in which the court has overreached into military matters, this time, too, the answer needs to be “no,” as in “sorry, but this isn’t your business.” If this sounds unpleasant, all complaints should be referred to the first chief of staff who faced such an invasion and raised the white flag.

The IDF chief of staff has one job: win wars.

It’s strange to see officers dealing with things that have absolutely nothing to do with winning wars, busying themselves with matters such as equality and diversity, and creating professional review boards instead of training for the next battle.

This is a tactic employed by progressive social justice warriors against what they view as toxic patriarchy intrinsic to militaries. This crusade, however, doesn’t seem to pertain to professional sports, for example. Indeed, why shouldn’t all-male soccer teams also include women? End the segregation! From whence did this pathological hatred of men spring?

The progressive tactic hasn’t changed: Women’s rights interest them far less than eroding nationalism. They wrap their campaign in slogans that can’t be opposed unless you are willing to appear as ugly as me. Once upon a time, long ago, we decided as a society to spare women—that men would be the ones to die on the front lines.

Who could have imagined that advancing women’s rights would translate into sending them to the depths of hell?

Arnon Itiel is an Israeli author, broadcaster and columnist.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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