Male Israeli soldiers allowed to ask out of serving with women

Soldiers of the Bardales Battalion training in urban warfare on an early foggy morning near Nitzanim in the Arava area of Southern Israel, July 13, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Soldiers of the Bardales Battalion training in urban warfare on an early foggy morning near Nitzanim in the Arava area of Southern Israel, July 13, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel Defense Forces soldiers can request to not serve alongside women and to be excused from any military event that goes against their beliefs, according to a new directive.

The new directive by Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, published Sunday and distributed to all units, comes as Eisenkot has decided not to establish any additional Nahal Haredi battalions, made up exclusively of Haredi Orthodox soldiers, and integrate them into regular units, Walla reported.

Soldiers can now request not to serve with women and not to share living spaces.

Formal events, such as Independence Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, Holocaust Remembrance Day, services for fallen soldiers, and Rabin’s memorial day, will still be required and more difficult for soldiers to get out of, according to the new directive.

Other events, such as cultural or educational ones, including where females sing in front of men, will be at the discretion of the unit’s commander, according to the directive.

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