Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Modesty In The IDF

I like this one from INN:
Modesty Enters Army Through Back Door

by Hillel Fendel

( In light of recent charges of sexual harassment by officers of female soldiers, IDF officers are taking no chances. Private discussions are now off-limits, as are compliments on physical appearance and the like.

Though Col. P. was recently acquitted of verbal sexual harassment of a female soldier under his command, his fellow officers feel that steps must be taken to prevent miffed soldiers from making similar false accusations against them in the future. Among the new regulations they are informally adopting are: no more private closed-door meetings with female soldiers, and no compliments on haircuts or physical appearance.

One field commander told the Maariv NRG news website that he no longer takes female soldiers into his car when he leaves the base. He and others make sure not to hold private meetings with junior female soldiers - especially when the topic of discussion is a reprimand or the like, which might prompt feelings of vengeance.

Some officers feel that some female soldiers use the tool of harassment accusations when reprimanded, refused leave, and the like. "It has reached the point where we can no longer compliment a junior female officer or soldier on her appearance," one officer said.

Another senior officer said he has stopped asking about his female soldiers' personal lives: "Any question relating to her boyfriend or the like is liable to be misinterpreted," he says. "As an officer, I am supposed to take interest in my soldiers' personal lives, and it can even be harmful if I do not - but I refuse to take such a chance."

Increasing numbers of officers who have personal secretaries have begun requesting that they not be assigned female soldiers, but rather that their personal aides be males.

The case of Col. P. is particularly irksome, the officers feel, because "it was clear from the start that he was not guilty. Yet he lost six months of his life fighting it, as well as having his name dragged through the mud of sexual harassment charges."

It is felt that the new "regulations" will also help prevent those cases where charges of harassment are justified. An IDF Lieutenant was convicted last month, for instance, of harassing 12 female soldiers; in accordance with an agreement reached between the sides, he was demoted to the rank of private, must perform public service works in a hospital, and must compensate one of the soldiers financially.
This reminds me of something that I experienced in reserve duty. We were serving in Southern Israel, and the temperature was over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the shade! A group of female soldiers arrived at our base in the framework of a course that they were taking. In the face of such scorching weather, some of these female soldiers took the liberty of walking around the base out of uniform, i.e. in just shorts and a tee shirt. No one said anything about this until one of these chayalot made a frivolous complaint to our commander that one of our soldiers "sexually harassed" her. Our commander, who was the highest ranking soldier on the base decided that these female soldiers would be required to appear in full uniform whenever they were in the public domain of the base (i.e. not in their tents). This of course dismayed the chayalot, but it put an end to the lightheaded "sexual harassment" complaints.

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