Sexist General or Funny Joke?
Here's Israel's Joke of The Day:
Observing some army field excercises, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak, asks IDF's Chief of Staff Benny Ganz: "What are those chayalot/women soldiers doing over there?"
Ganz leans over to Barak and says: "Singing".
Hmmm. I guess you had to have been there.
As indeed were some news crews.
Benny Ganz joke was caught on tape, aired and created something of a storm.
Ganz was referring to a recent controversy about whether or not chayalot should entertain troops, in particular religiously observant soldiers, some of whom object to hearing women singers on religious modesty grounds ("kol isha").
In that context, it's quite a clever and funny quip. Yes, I admit it, I giggled.
However, given that even Hilary Clinton has recently joined the criticism of chareidi gender segregation policies in Israel, (although interestingly enough, not the same practices in Hilary's own back yard, in ultra-orthodox communities such as Borough Park and Lakewood), Ganz' joke has added more petrol to the fire.
So what is this - a General with a quick wit? Or a male chauvinist - even a mysogenist - in the wrong job?