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Women in Israeli Army

Rabbi Ari ShvatNisan 30, 5772
488
Question
The prohibition of a woman not wearing a mans clothing(weapons)..in a case of protecting your life(pkuach nefesh)doesnt apply..and in a case of pkuach nefesh women would be allowed to serve in the army?(the reason why some dont is because they are putting there spiritual life in danger..and there are men who can do the job instead...(in a place were its normal for woman to carry weapons it should be ok?
Answer
Shalom Yitzchak, You are correct that a woman is allowed to protect herself with a weapon in a case of piku’ach nefesh, and so writes R. Moshe Feinstein explicitly, especially in areas where it’s dangerous and normal. Nevertheless, Rav Dov Li’or of Chevron writes that it’s referring to a pistol, and it’s not modest for women to walk around with a rifle. On the other hand, if chas v’shalom there is an emergency, then obviously that is temporarily allowed, as well. On the other hand, even R. Shlomo Goren, Rav Li'or, R. Herzog and the most Zionist and military-minded rabbis, do not allow for women to serve in the army because of the unfortunate loose atmosphere, their minimal (or even negative) contribution to combat units (lowering speed and physical demands, distracting the fighters, resulting in an atmosphere of flirting, light-headedness, etc.), and the lack of need for them in non-combat units. Theoretically, this may eventually change, but in the meantime, all of the poskim agree that it’s better for them to contribute in the framework of National Service (Sherut Le’umi). With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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