Female IDF officer barred from reading remembrance prayer
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Female IDF officer barred from reading remembrance prayer

Soldier is told rabbinate forbids women saying 'Yizkor' in Memorial Day service; army says it was a mistake and there is no such policy

Illustrative image of Israeli soldiers placing Israeli flags on the graves of fallen soldiers in Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, on April 16, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative image of Israeli soldiers placing Israeli flags on the graves of fallen soldiers in Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, on April 16, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A female IDF officer was reportedly told she was not permitted to read a prayer for fallen soldiers at her unit’s commemoration ceremony for Memorial Day on Tuesday morning.

According to an Army Radio report, the officer, who serves in a Central Command unit, was given the part by the organizers of the ceremony. Later, she was informed by the NCO arranging the ceremony that the rabbinate forbade a woman reading the “Yizkor,” or “Remembrance,” prayer.

A male officer was assigned to replace her to read the prayer in the ceremony.

The army afterward denied it had such a policy.

The IDF spokesperson’s unit said the decision to replace the female officer “was caused by a mistake. There is no order in the IDF that forbids a woman to read ‘Yizkor’ in a military ceremony. We must emphasize that female officers and enlisted troops took part in this morning’s ceremony. This will be clarified and emphasized” to the unit in question.

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli blamed the “mistake” on the fact that the chief of staff has taken no action against religious leaders of pre-army academies telling their followers that women should not serve in the army.

“The time has come to understand that silence is acquiescence, and there is no way to acquiesce to this severe harm to female soldiers,” she tweeted.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday, Israel marks its Memorial Day, honoring the thousands of fallen soldiers and terror victims.

The country observes moments of silence during the wailing of two sirens, one at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and another at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. On Wednesday night, the country switches to celebrating Independence Day.

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