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August 14, 1981 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-08-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE HEIROli JEWISH NEWS

24 Friday, August 14, 1981

40.090",

Equal Rights for Women: A Different Kind
of Battle for the Israel Defense Forces

By YITZHAK RABI

NEW YORK (JTA) — Are
Israeli women equal to Is-
raeli men? Yes, many
people would say, pointing
to the fact that women must
serve along with men in the
Israel Defense Forces.
"This is only a myth,"
says Shuli Eshel, who
wrote, directed and pro-
duced a unique documen-
tary film, "To Be A Woman
Soldier," to prove her point
of view- about the status of
Israeli women.
"There is no equality of
the sexes in Israeli society.
The Israeli army is a micro-
cosm of the society, a micro-
cosm where the inequality
between men and women is
sharply demonstrated."
Eshel, a young, effer-
vescent sabra, told the

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that of her American
counterpart, Eshel said
American women are
much more "liberated."
Israeli women, she said,
are at a state where
American women were in
the early 1960s when they
started for the first time
to be conscious of their
second class citizenship
in society.
Eshel said that the con-
troversy and responses that
followed the showing of her
film in Israel indicated that
Israel is "ripe and ready" to
ask questions and to probe
the issue of women's r -l e
and status in societ,
order to change the situa-
tion.
The film also shows that a •
lack of personnel has com-
pelled the Israeli army to
open up certain technical
jobs to women's such as
airplane technicians and
control tower operators, jobs
that were closed to women
soldiers until recently. To
illustrate this development,
the film presents the story
of Miri Dayan (no relation
to Moshe Dayan) who had to
fight against heavy odds to
become the first, and so far
the only woman commander
of the women's tank in-
structors course.

and serving coffee.
Eshel, who is in the
United States to promote
her film, has already re-
ceived an enthusiastic re-
sponse from the Public
Broadcasting Servive which
stated in a letter to her that
"We very much want the
film for PBS broadcast."
Eshel said she now has to
find sponsors for the film to
provide the underwriting
grants for televising the
film on PBS.
She said that her goal in
making the film "was to im-
prove the status of Israeli
women" because "as a social
documentary film maker
my commitment is a social
one." She contended that
the Israeli woman is not
equal to the Israeli man in
all aspects of life — social
and juridicial — nor in the
general treatment accorded
her in society.
Continuing, she ob-
served: "The time has come
for women of Israel to take
an active role in changing
the situation toward equal-
ity. One of the sources for
the inequality is the army,
where the division of the
roles between the sexes is a
long-standing tradition."
Comparing the status
of the Israeli woman to



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Telegraphic
Jewish
Agency in an interview
here that her film was
meant to "explode" the
myth of equality between
the sexes in the army and
to the status of women as
it really is. The film was
broadcast last April on
Israeli television and was
acclaimed by critics as an
important social docu-
ment.
The film depicts, through
the real life stories of two
women soldiers in their
final month of service, the
role of Israeli women in the
army and in civilian life.
Orly, a Yemenite from
the city, and Abigail, from a
kibbutz, represent the "av-
erage" woman. When they
entered the army they were,
like many other 18-year-
olds, full of hope and expect-
ing to take part in defending
the country. But they soon
realize that all combat jobs
or jobs that bring them close
to combat are closed to
women.
They also discover that
out of 709 professions in the
Israeli army, only 225 are
open to women soldiers. (By
comparison, there are 630
professions in the U.S.
army, of which 570 are open
to women).
Women in the Israeli
army, the film shows,
serve in mainly service
roles. Orly and Abigail
soon find themselves
spending dreary hours in
the office — typing, filing

NEW YORK — The
United Jewish Appeal East
Central Region has or-
ganized a Young Leader-
ship Family Retreat, Aug.
28-30, at Camp Livingston
in Bennington, Ind. Jewish
community leaders from
Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio
and Michigan will partici-
pate in the three-day con-
ference, sponsored by the
UJA Young Men's and
Women's Leadership
Cabinets.
The major focus of the
conference will be the chal-
lenges facing world Jewry
in the next decade. The two
scholars-in-residence for
the weekend will be Dr.
Jonathan Woocher, assis-
tant professor of communal
service at Brandeis Univer-
sity; and Dr. Alan Dowty,
professor of political science
at Notre Dame.

Gem Merchants
Form Emerald
Cutters Group

RAMAT GAN — Leaders
of Israel's precious stones
industry have formed the
Israel Emeral Cutters Asso-
ciation.
The new association con-
sists of 12 companies whose
annual exports of cut
emeralds in 1980 reached
almost $50 million, or more
than 40 percent of world
production, as Israel has
emerged as the largest
emerald polishing center.

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