Tuesday, October 03, 2006

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz Responds to Criticism

Dan Halutz Under Fire; Photo by Limor Edri

Poor Dan Halutz. Since the beginning of the war, the Israeli Chief of Staff has spent most of his energy fending off calls for his resignation. Criticism of Halutz's performance has come from a grassroots movement of reservists who served in Lebanon, from mid-level officers and from retired army officers, including the previous chief of staff, Moshe "Boogie" Ayalon. Two weeks ago, Halutz managed to draw fire from one other constituency: the gay and lesbian community. At a ceremony marking the retirement of the Chief of Staff’s advisor for women’s affairs, Halutz is said to have remarked:
יש שני מינים - גברים ונשים. בעצם יש עוד אחד, שאותו אסור להזכיר
There are two genders: males and females. Actually, there is another gender that one is not allowed to mention.
For some reason, his comments got homosexuals in Israel mad. I myself have a hard time understanding how his comments could be interpreted as a slight against gays and lesbians. It's not that I'm belittling the concerns of gay Israelis – I just don't understand Halutz's remark. Whether or not he intended it as a wisecrack about homosexuals, it sounds like a pretty silly thing to say at a ceremony. But I guess that's Israel for you – people aren't used to thinking about what they say a million times before they express whatever is on their mind. Since he was taken to task by Israel's gay and lesbian community, Halutz has made amends. Ha'aretz reports that the Chief of Staff met representatives of the Israeli gay-lesbian community and said that their service in the army is important and that all positions in the IDF are open to gays and lesbians. He even said that he is considering adding a special position homosexual affairs advisor (he didn’t exactly call it that) to the IDF's Human Resources department. Pretty good for an air force officer who is frequently depicted as the epitome of Israeli machismo in Israel's satirical show, Eretz Nehederet. In terms of fighting sexual discrimination, the IDF seems to be a step ahead of the American armed forces.

1 comment:

Delana said...

I know this is going stir up a hornets nest. Gay is wrong. It is UNNATURAL. I dont see them as a gender or race. I do recognize them as human. But im sorry there is no way someone is going to get me to see what is right in it. Sorry if i rattled anyones cage, but its gross.