Israeli women battle for equality
The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 30, 1984 - Page 7
NEGEV DESERT, Israel (AP) -
Women drafted into the Israeli army -
where most serve as clerks - are
aking over the training of male
soldiers, but they still are barred from
combat - a rule that brings objections
from leading feminists.
One day this month at a training base
in the Negev, a group of young women
wearing helmets and ammunition belts
were instructing men in live artillery
'STUFFING their fingers in their ears
atthe cry "Fire!" the women were corr-
ecting the men's aim and spitting sand
and dust out of their mouths.
Young women in Israel are subject to
two years of compulsory military ser-
vice. Feminists regard women soldiers
as "cheap labor" because of the tasks
assigned to them, but the military
views them as essential personnel no
matter what they do.
More and more, they are taking the
instruction of combat soldiers in
various skills and other tasks
traditionally assigned to men. Women
are estimated to make up about one-
third of the standing army which Tel
Aviv University's Jaffee Center for
Strategic Studies puts at 170,000.
"WOMEN are essential because
they enable us to free men for field
duty," Lt. Col Yehudit Ben-Nathan,
deputy commander of the Women's
Corps, said in an interview. She added
that there are no plans to change the
law and assign women to combat duty,
although they already serve in
operational capacities as flight con-
trollers and operations officers.
"Women are cheap labor in the Israel
Defense Forces even though there is lip
service to equality," countered
Shulamit Aloni, a member of
Parliament for the opposition Labor
Party alignment and an outspoken ad-
vocate of women's rights.
Aloni added that the most common
argument she has heard was that
"women can't serve on the front lines
because they could be raped. So what
happens if a male soldier falls into
enemy hands and is killed or tortured,
is that better?"
SHE CHARGED that legislation in
Israel was governed by "a set of
prejudices which stems from religious
codes which posits that a good girl stays
at home and has babies or at most ser-
ves coffee at some army base."
Asked about these charges, Ben-
Nathan said, "By the same token you
can say that male soldiers are cheap
manpower - every soldier's duty is to
A career officer and mother of two,
Ben-Nathan agreed that the reason for
the law barring women from combat
was based on the concept that women
"have other essential roles in life - to
raise children and strengthen the home
front during wars.
"WOMEN WERE made different
than men, and there's no getting away
from it," Ben-Nathan said.
She added another argument: "A lot
of investment goes into forming a com-
bat soldier. Women only serve in the
reserves until they are 24, men go on
until 48. It just doesn't make sense to
invest so much in them."
Second Lt. Yael Marcus, a 20-year-old
artillery officer who instructs male
cadets in the use of self-propelled M-109
howitzers, said she would have liked
field duty had she been trained for it.'
"I FEEL something is missing when
I teach the guys. We all know I've never
been out there in a real war," she ad-
ded, donning a flak jacket in
preparation for the live-fire drill.
Her trainees said they had no trouble
accepting instruction from a woman,
because they had been used to women
teachers at school and some thought
women were better at teaching theory
than men. But all of them agreed that
they could not accept women comman-
ders in battle.
Standing by a U.S. Army surplus
cannon, 19-year-old Leor said it was
hard for him "to draw confidence from
a girl - and in a battle confidence is
very important." Smiling shyly, he ad-
ded: "War is a manly thing. There's no
room there for beautiful things."
"It's not rational," said Amit,
another cadet, whose last name, like
Leor's, cannot be published under
Israeli military rules for combat
soldiers. "It has to do with prejudice.
But in battle the commander has to set
a personal example and I just don't
think it would work out with a woman."
Marcus said at first she was tested all
the time by her male cadets. "They
tried to catch me out on every little
mistake I made," she said. Although
she had no disciplinary problems, some
of her female colleagues had trouble
getting their trainees to obey them.
"But then, when they realize that we
won't smile at them and that we won't
meet them tonight in Dizengoff, a big
nightlife street in Tel Aviv, and we
know what we're doing, it works out
OK," she said.
March 29-April 1
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DENVER (UPI) .- Colorado Gov.
Richard Lamm, under fire for saying
terminally ill people have a "duty to die
and get out of the way," yesterday ref-
used to apologize and said he would
discuss sensitive issues as long as he
thought it necessary.
Lamm's remark in a speech Tuesday
made national headlines, and prompted
Oklahoma Gov. George Nigh yesterday
in Tulsa, Okla., to open a news con-
ference with the statement, "I think
everybody ought to be able to live as
long as they want to."
AT A NEWS conference yesterday,
Lamm said he was not concerned about
a call for his resignation by the
American Life Lobby, a 135,000-
member anti-abortiop, anti-euthanasia
group based in Washington D.C.
Lamm said his remarks were made
in a more general speech on the high
cost of health care, and accurately
reflected his own opinion.
"I don't think I said it brutally," he
said. "I think it was reported brutally."
Lamm said he had decided that in his
third term as governor he would raise
some sensitive issues.
The remark, he said, was "a serious
statement designed to raise an issue
that isn't going to go away. Medical
science has now replaced God as the
author of death. Every one of us ought
to think through that issue."
A .. 1-
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April 1- 7
Police officials from Whitehall, Ohio hold the legs of a fellow law enforcer as he searches a dumpster for stolen jewelry
yesterday. Not only did they find the jewelry, they also stumbled upon a man who had been shot by police earlier. The
man was not charged in the jewelry heist.
Lease typo stumps students
(Continued from Page 1)
Steve Klaczynski. "The price (on the
original lease) was different from what
we expected," said Klaczynski, "but we
assumed that there had been a room
evaluation. The room's size is 16 feet by
13 feet, and it could hardly hold the basic
furniture needed for three people."
'FRESH MAN TODD Shanker, their
roommate for next year, said, "There's
no way we're going to pay (the amount
listed on the amendment). It comes out
to about $750 more for the three of us."
The three have an appointment to
discuss the lease problem with Couzens
WBuilding Director Mandy Bratton, who
said she had no knowledge of the letter
prior to this complaint.
Jonathan Rose, of Student Legal
Services (SLS) said, "The Housing of-
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fice may be going out on a limb by at-
tempting to unilaterally change the
contract, giving the student the choice
of cancellation or increased rent."
ROSE SAID that the Housing Office
may have to honor the original leases if
the students were unaware that the rent
was incorrectly stated on the original
"I think (the letter of March 22)
creates the impression that the student
has no right to contest what is clearly a
challengeable position," he said.
Yesterday, a student who had
received the letter consulted Legal Ser-
vices and was referred to outside coun-
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According to housing official Marlene
Mantyk, the error was discovered in
mid-March during a review of the
leases signed by students returning to
"Quite a few years ago," said Man-
tyk, "this same thing happened, and it
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way." She added that about 20 of the
amendments have been signed and
returned without objections.
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