Women in the IDF: Forward March or About Face?

The Israel Democracy Institute
4 Pinsker Street, Jerusalem

A roundtable in cooperation with the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and Reshet Bet


פרופ' ידידיה שטרן, הרב אבישי רונצקי, אלוף (במיל') עמוס ידלין

(L to R) Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet, Rabbi Col. (res.) Avichai Rontzki, and Prof. Yedidia Stern at the IDI roundtable

The service and unique contribution of women soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stands out among defense establishments around the world. The exceptional status of women in the IDF, however, may be at risk, as certain rabbis demand to implement "codes of modesty" and as the increasing number of ultra-Orthodox soldiers threatens to alter the existing status quo.

On Tuesday June 11, 2013, IDI and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in conjunction with Reshet Bet radio, hosted a roundtable discussion in which leading policymakers, military personnel, and scholars  reviewed the latest research on the role of women in the IDF and discussed proposals for dealing with the challenges facing women in the Israeli armed forces today.


  • Ms. Carmela Menashe, Reshet Bet Radio
  • Mr. Yuval Ganor, Reshet Bet Radio


  • Col. (Res.) Pnina Sharvit Baruch, Senior Researcher, Institute for National Security Studies; former head of the International Law
    Department of the Israel Defense Forces
  • Dr. Arye Carmon, President, Israel Democracy Institute
  • Prof. Hanoch Dagan, IDI Senior Fellow and Prof. and former dean of the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University
  • Dr. Karmit Habar, Researcher, Israel Democracy Institute; co-author of policy paper with Col. Pnina Sharvit Baruch
  • Dr. Shlomit Harrosh, Research Fellow in Applied Military Ethics, Shalom Hartman Institute
  • Dr. Neri Horowitz, Chairman of Agora Policy
  • Brigadier General (res.) Gila Kalifi-Amir, former Women's Affairs Advisor to the IDF Chief of Staff
  • MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women
  • Rabbi Dr. Benjamin "Benny" Lau, Head of IDI's Human Rights and Judaism in Action project; Rabbi at Ramban Synagogue
  • Rabbi Itshak Levy, former Minister and MK from the National Religious Party and National Union
  • Rabbanit Shulamit Melamed, Director of Arutz Sheva (Israel National News)
  • Ms. Carmela Menashe, Military Reporter, Kol Yisrael
  • MK Merav Michaeli (Labor), Chair of the Lobby for Female Knesset Members
  • Lieut. Col. (ret.) Rabbi Ram Moshe Raved, former Chief Rabbi of the Israeli air force and one of the founders of Project Shahar
  • Attorney Shlomit Ravitzky Tur-Paz, Executive Director, Beit Midrash Elul
  • Rabbi Col. (res.) Avichai Rontzki, former Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces
  • Attorney Ricky Shapira Rosenberg, Kolech – The Religious Women's Forum
  • Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and instructor in the Gender Studies Program at Bar-Ilan University
  • Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel, Advisor to the Chief of the General Staff on Women's Affair
  • Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, Director of the INSS; former head of the IDF's Military Intelligence Directorate