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Saudi Arabia’s state security agency says a social media post on one of its accounts that categorised feminism as extremism was a mistake.

The promotional video categorised feminism, homosexuality and atheism as dangerous ideas and warned Saudis to be vigilant against them.

The security agency says it is investigating the video.

Saudi Arabia is trying to shake off its image as one of the most repressive countries in the world for women.

The animated clip was posted to the Twitter account of the State Security Presidency over the weekend. The agency reports directly to King Salman.

The agency said in a statement that the video contained multiple mistakes and the makers of the video did not do their job properly.

The Saudi Human Rights Commission also released a statement saying that feminism was not a crime. However, it did not make reference to homosexuality or atheism.

Saudi Arabia has no written laws concerning sexual orientation or gender identity, but judges use principles of Islamic law to sanction people suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, homosexual sex or other “immoral” acts, according to US-based Human Rights Watch.

The video has been criticised by human rights groups including Amnesty International.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said: “This announcement is extremely dangerous and has serious implications for the rights to freedom of expression and life, liberty and security in the country.”

The video comes as Saudi Arabia continues a programme of reforms, many of which focus on women’s rights.

The government lifted a long-standing ban on women driving in 2018 and made changes to the male guardianship system this August, allowing women to apply for passports and travel independently without permission from a man.

They were also given the right to register births, marriage or divorce.

However, women continue to face numerous restrictions on their lives, and several women’s rights activists who campaigned for the changes have been detained and put on trial. Some of them alleged to have been tortured in prison.

Men who had supported the activists’ cause or defended them in court were also arrested.

Source: BBC

For the first time in Israel’s history, a woman was nominated to serve as the chief intelligence officer for an Israel Defense Forces regional command on Monday, the army said.

Col. “Nun” — who for security reasons can only be identified by her rank and first Hebrew initial of her name — was named as the next chief intelligence officer for the IDF Central Command, which operates in the West Bank.

Nun was drafted into the IDF in 2000 and served in a host of positions within Military Intelligence before her appointment to the high-ranking and highly sensitive role on Monday. It was not immediately clear when she would enter the new position.

Nun’s appointment was one of several announced by the IDF on Monday.

Brig. Gen. Eyal Harel was nominated to replace Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz, who resigned suddenly last week ahead of a television report alleging he had multiple sexual relationships with subordinates in violation of military rules while he was commander of the navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit.

Last Wednesday, Elbaz sent a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and the head of the Israel Navy Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit requesting to leave his position immediately.

“Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz asked to end his position and resign from the IDF over publication of events that allegedly occurred more than 10 years ago and which included behavior that does not match the accepted norms of the IDF,” the military said in a statement.

Kohavi and Sharvit accepted his request.

“Brig. Gen. Elbaz is a high-ranking officer who has served in a variety of combat positions and contributed directly to the security of the State of Israel. The chief of staff determined that there is no place for these norms [he displayed] in the IDF and that he will show zero tolerance toward these types of incidents in the future,” the IDF said.

Another naval officer also stepped down last week in connection to the affair.

Col. Nun’s appointment as the first female chief intelligence officer of a regional command comes weeks after the IDF’s first female commander of an air force aviation squadron entered her position.

Last month, Lt. Col. “Gimel” — who for security reasons can also only be referred to by her rank and first initial of her Hebrew name — took command of the Nachshon Squadron, which operates surveillance aircraft.

“I believe that it is our duty in the Israel Defense Forces to fulfill the inherent potential in women. We are still far from this goal, but I am sure that this process will continue and that we will appoint female commanders and soldiers in a wide variety of positions in the air force and in the IDF in general,” the head of the air force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said at Gimel’s entrance ceremony.

Source: Times of India