“It’s a Man’s War”

I spent Shabbat afternoon with three young Israeli mothers all of whom have husbands currently serving in the war in Gaza. Five babies aged 15 days to 2.5 years. Another in utero. Smart women, with degrees and jobs and passions and interest and dreams.

…The three women I spent Shabbat with served in the army, too. They know everything about how this military works. They are also fully capable of doing the jobs that the men are doing—and in fact, there are stories of pregnant women, nursing mothers, and female commanders and medics who are busy in the war. I certainly would not want to erase or dismiss their vital work or roles here.

Nevertheless, despite those scattered gains, this war remains a predominantly male-led war. There are no women in the war cabinet. Not a single woman around the table with decision-making power.

Women remain a small minority of high-ups in the IDF. Even as female fighters were incredibly brave and resourceful on October 7. Even as female soldiers were warning about this war for months and were completely dismissed and ignored by their male supervisors.

(Bibi was recently asked about the exclusion of women from decision-making power during a press conference. His response was, “I don’t understand the question.” You can’t make this shit up.)

Elana Sztokman, Israeli feminist educator, author and publisher, from her Substack “The Roar” on December 25, 2023.