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August 22, 1986 - Image 63

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-08-22

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Keeping up with the
news these days can
be a mountainous
task. But a
subscription to the


can increase your
knowledge — of issues
concerning our Jewish
community — and
lift your spirit.

For subscriptions
Call 354-6060

says, "I think that women are
often a little smarter."
Sarah Promislow, 19, for-
merly of Regina, Saskat-
chewan, would agree. Sarah,
who emigrated to Israel with
her family in 1974, has been
in the Israeli Air Force since
January. Her job is to under-
take efficiency studies at
bases throughout the country.
"I'm very lucky," says
Sarah, whose 21-year old
brother, Baruch, is also a
soldier. "Basic training
wasn't too bad, and my pres-
ent jobds actually easier than
I'd expected. Some girls work
from 7 in the morning till 11
at night."
After her two years of mili-
tary service, Sarah plans to
travel and attend a universi-
ty — "part in Israel, part in
Canada" — and she is grate-
ful for the "breathing space"
she has during her stint in the
army to think about what she
really wants to do, "instead of
jumping from course to
"I also think serving in the
army is important because it
gives me a chance to do some-
thing for my country and to
meet people from all kinds of
backgrounds, people I might
not meet otherwise."
Sarah was particularly
struck during a summer visit
to Canada last year by the
relative immaturity of Cana-
dian teenagers when com-
pared with their Israeli peers.
"It's a basic difference in
outlook," says Sarah, whose
22-year old sister, Rachel,

served in an army unit that
combined military duties
with cooperative farming on
a kibbutz. "The army matures
you, it demands things of
you. I consider it a very
valuable experience."
Israel is the only Western
country to draft its young
women, excluding those who
are married (although they
may volunteer for service).
Religious women are also ex-
empt, although many commit
themselves instead to a
period of national service for
up to two years — working in
hospitals, homes for the elder-
ly, development towns and
centers for new immigrants.
"I understand that it might
be difficult for a girl from a
sheltered religious home to
cope with the army, and if
religious girls choose to do
national service instead of go-
ing into the army, they are
forgiven," explains a secular
female conscript. "But those
who do not do their`'-share
make the rest of us angry.
live in the same country and
we must share the good with
the bad."
There have been rare, well-
publicized cases involving
young women who claimed
exemption on religious
grounds and who were later
found to be non-Observant.
They were tried, fined, and
promptly drafted.
The great majority, how-
ever, simply accept their first
call-up at the age of 16 for the
medical, IQ and aptitude test-
ing that will determine the

tasks they will be given on en-
try to the army when they
finish school two years later.
A few, particularly girls
wishing to study medicine,
are granted deferments until
they complete their studies.
Unlike their male counter-
parts, who continue to be
called up for up to two
months a year until the age of
55, women do reserve duty
only until the age of 24,,or un-
til they are married.
"I think most girls look for-
ward to the army," says a
young woman soldier who is
just completing her initial
two-year service. "From
childhood, we know that we'll
have to do army service and
we've been prepared for it.
"Of course, being in the
army is hard — you can do a
lot of things in two years —
but it is a question of duty
and responsibility. If I don't
do it, who will?"
The person who helps the
young women cope with their
new responsibilities is Briga-
dier-General Amira Dotan,
8, head of the women's divi-
sion\ of the Israel Defense
Forces. She is alsolesponsible
for many of the advances
made by women soldiers in
cent years. But General
Dotan is not yet satisfied.
She pinpoints slow-to-change
attitudes in the army hier-
archy, Israel's education
system and the attitude of
women themselves — "the
Jewish mothers who don't
want to see their daughters

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