Shalom Life | June 25, 2015

Female Band Excluded from Pre-Military Graduation Due to Orthodox Audience

Female members of the Bina military preparatory program in Tel Aviv were offended following a graduation ceremony which excluded them

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: June 23rd, 2015 in News » Israel

Photo: Members of the IDF military band performing at Tel Aviv University

Credit: Dan Keinan via Haaretz


Organizers of the Bina military preparatory program in Tel Aviv received a harsh letter from female participants in the program, who wrote claiming that women were excluded from the national graduation ceremony.

According to the participants, the band that was supposed to perform at the ceremony was replaced at the last minute with an all-male band. They also complained about the speaking line-up, which consisted of all males.

“We were very impressed with the honored ceremony,” began the letter, “but something offended us and hurt us personally.”

“We understand that because the ceremony was attended by religious participants it creates some problems,” the letter continued. “This raises a disturbing question: Why would an official and state sponsored graduation ceremony, just before the draft, exclude women? This is in stark contrast to the military law which will apply to everyone.”

Director General of the Council Danny Zamir admitted that there were certainly errors in the production and says that the Ministry of Defense was in charge. “We do not deny responsibility, we needed to confirm the plans and make sure they were appropriate.” Zamir said. “The way to handle this is simply to learn from the mistakes.”

Following requests to investigate the matter further, Zamir has scheduled a hearing on Thursday with the Ministry of Defense to clearly outline future rules for events of this type. “As far as the performance goes – there should either be mixed singing or no singing at all,” Zamir explained. Stressing that the mistakes were innocently made by people who were unfamiliar with the protocol, Zamir said, “there is definitely room for criticism and to learn and correct for the future.”

The Ministry of Defense commented on the incident, saying that “This was the first time the department put on a graduation ceremony of this sort, an event that was held at Beit Palmach with hundreds of participants from around the country. Following the requests of religious preparatory program leaders, and in order to not hurt the feelings of some of the participants, it was decided to ass a different band to the ceremony.”

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