Adultery not an offense in Israeli army
June 27, 1997
Web posted at: 6:39 p.m. EDT (2239 GMT)
From Correspondent Jerrold Kessel
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Adultery can get a U.S. military officer court-martialed. But if such a law were applied in Israel, there might not be an army left.
Not only is adultery not a punishable offense in the Israeli Army, some analysts and military officials even suggest an active libido makes a good officer.
That's why people in Israel were baffled about the case of Kelly Flinn, the first U.S. female B-52 bomber pilot, who left the military amid accusations she had an affair and lied about it.
Amnon Dankner, a columnist for Ha'aretz newspaper, says
outlawing adultery would threaten the country's national
"Overnight, we would have no officers left in the army.
Everyone would submit their resignation. We'll be left with
some religious soldiers -- that's all," he said.
Famous general, famous adulterer
Comprised mostly of draftees, the Israeli Army has a small
permanent officer corps and represents a cross-section of the
society's 18- to 21-year-olds.
Israel's most famous soldier, the late Moshe Dayan, is also widely considered the nation's most famous adulterer.
"Think what we would have lost if Moshe Dayan had been fired
-- a chief of staff who won the Sinai War and a defense
minister who won the Six Day War," said Dankner.
Dayan's daughter, Yael Dayan, agrees. She says the fact that her father
was a recognized philanderer did not harm his reputation or his
"Someone who is disloyal to their wife, or a woman who is
disloyal to her husband, doesn't mean they will be disloyal
to their country," she said, adding that it can even boost an
"It's not an issue because society not only tolerates
adultery when men do it, it's point scoring."
Not an offense
"The offense of adultery -- we see it in Israel just in the
Bible. There is no offense like that, not in the military and
not in any other place," said Col. Elinat Ron, a chief army
Lt. Shira Bar-Yosef symbolizes the new direction for women in
uniform. The 21-year-old lieutenant oversees the final phase
of an officer's course in the Army's disaster rescue unit.
Seven of her nine trainees are women.
She doesn't seem phased by adultery in the military. "Maybe
it's okay and maybe it's not. But we can't allow it to decide
if a man or a woman can or cannot get a job," she said.
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