Ultra-Orthodox Israeli soldiers were reportedly offended after they witnessed a female comrade braiding a fellow soldier’s hair in public, Israeli media reported this week.
The female recruit was ordered to hand in a written apology, which consisted of a “five page essay,” her mother was quoted as saying on the Ynet news website on Monday, adding that her daughter had a hard time accepting her punishment.
The soldier’s commander handed out the punishment, claiming the act “was in violation of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) integration code and offensive to the religious sensitivities of the ultra-Orthodox soldiers serving on the base,” the website stated.
“My daughter understands the need to be sensitive to her fellow soldiers, but this is a huge exaggeration. On the one hand female soldiers are encouraged to support each other but on the other hand if her friend is crying she is not allowed to hug her in case someone is offended by it,” the female recruit’s mother said.
But an official from the IDF spokesperson’s unit said that “The IDF’s orders do not forbid soldiers from braiding each other’s hair. The officer made an error in judgment, which was corrected, while stressing military regulations,” the report stated.
The IDF integration code includes separate dormitories for men and women and modest clothing to be worn during fitness exercises, among other stipulations.