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Israeli Military Lifts Ban on HIV-Positive Recruits

Israeli Military Lifts Ban on HIV-Positive Recruits

Photo courtesy of Israeli Defense Forces
Photo courtesy of Israeli Defense Forces

The policy change affects what is already one of the world's most inclusive military organizations.

Late last year, the Israeli military announced that it has scrapped a ban on HIV-positive recruits and will soon begin enlisting HIV-positive soldiers to non-combat roles. Military conscription is mandatory for all secular Jewish citizens of Israel but, previously, HIV-positive people were automatically deemed unfit for service. This shift in policy makes the Middle Eastern nation one of the most progressive in the world in terms of inclusion towards a community that remains largely stigmatized.

Haaretz reports that the new policy will be put into effect early this year, and that HIV-positive people will then be able to enlist and serve in a variety of positions, excepting combat roles. While only a small number of people are expected to be affected per year, Col. Moshe Pinkert told Haaretz that this marks a "very important step...for the acceptance of people with HIV into society and reducing the social stigma."

Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals have been able to serve openly in the Israeli military since 1993, with transgender people being afforded the same right in 2013. The rights of HIV-positive military members in the U.S. is far murkier.

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