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Israeli Air Force to implement new LGBTI-friendly policies

Israeli Air Force to implement new LGBTI-friendly policies

Israeli Air Force soldiers

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) plans to introduce new changes to make the organization more LGBTI-friendly.

What’s happening?

IAF Brigadier General Natan Yisraeli has been meeting frequently with LGBTI-identified soldiers to discuss their needs and how the IAF could become a more LGBTI-friendly environment.

The IAF has set up support groups for LGBTI soldiers at its Tel Aviv headquarters. There, a series of meetings with prominent LGBTI figureheads help the soldiers get to know one another.

‘We know how to provide unique solutions for transgender soldiers who serve in the IDF [Israeli Defense Force], without harming the rest of the staff or mission readiness,’ a senior air force officer told Israel National News. ‘There are quite a few pilots who came out of the closet without difficulty, including combat ones.’

The IAF has reportedly always been more liberal-minded when it comes to alternative lifestyles. For instance, they showcased a same-sex couple during 2017’s Family Day, despite protests.

Backlash

Earlier this month, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called out IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot for ‘glorifying’ LGBTI values.

‘Why is the IDF constantly promoting media reports about the integration of women, homosexuals and transgender people in the IDF?’ Ariel asked Eizenkot.

‘It exists but why do we make the IDF’s main thing out of it? Check out the number of articles about these issues and see if I’m right, and then decide if this is what you want. When the IDF’s Spokespersons Unit promotes such things it show that this is the IDF’s policy and I want you to investigate this.’

‘We have no intention of making anyone in the IDF secular and we examine the issue of service between men and women according to operational decisions,’ Eizenkot replied.

He said the IDF will continue to integrate women and diverse populations into its ranks, despite backlash from conservative rabbis like Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu. Eliyahu believes integrating male and female soldiers in the IDF to be an ‘unhinged agenda.’