As Israeli officials debate over haredi draft, Ashdod's Lilach Mamouka proves remain devout and serve one's country
For almost three years now, Lilach Mamouka, 39, an Orthodox Jew and mother of three, volunteers at the Ashdod police station without compromising her religious lifestyle, including observing Jewish modesty laws.
As a volunteer, Mamouka has encountered various criminal occurrences, from neighborhood disputes to violent acts and even murder.
And still, people find it hard to get used to seeing her in crime scenes. "That's what it's like when you're a policewoman in a long skirt and head cover," Mamouka says. "I sanctify God as well as my commitment to the public, and the two are not contradictory. On the contrary, I feel I'm doing holy work."
Recently, Mamouka was called in to handle a domestic dispute in which a mother threatened to kick her daughter out of the house after the latter announced she was gay.
"I called both mother and daughter to the police station," Mamouka recounts. She explained to the two the importance of household harmony, as noted in the Torah. "We talked for three hours and they ended up leaving the station embraced. I didn't go in to the sexuality issue. It wasn’t the point. What's important is that the mother and daughter live in peace with each other. That's what I believe in and what my job is based on."
As for the issue of the haredim draft, Mamouka is supportive of the universal draft. "I wish haredi women could enlist in the IDF as secular women do," she says.
"My daughter is about to join National Service, but I told her I would also be fine with her joining the army. She made her own choices, as did I in working with the police and still abide by the Jewish faith. I don't shake hands with male officers, I observe modesty laws and no one has a problem with that. On the contrary; I feel respected."