Military service as bargaining: The case of religious women soldiers in Israel

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While religious women have always served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as part of universal conscription, the Chief Rabbinate still opposes military service for women in general, and religious women in particular. In the twenty-first century, approximately 20% of religious women graduates of the religious high school system in Israel enlist. They remain a part of their social group despite social disapproval. Interestingly, after many years of ignoring the subject almost completely within the majority of Israel’s Jewish orthodox community, recently, there is a palatable change. Rabbis and public figures within the religious community have spoken more clearly about women’s conscription and are no longer pretending that the issue does not exist. While religious women soldiers are still far from the norm, they are no longer the anathema they once were. The present paper will discuss this change and try to examine it as a process of bargaining, with religious women employing bargaining in non-traditional ways. In its conclusion, the article will suggest broader contexts within which these ideas can be viewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-175
Number of pages18
JournalPolitics, Religion and Ideology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2018

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© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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