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″Golda” Shoes for Female Israeli Soldiers May Be Phased Out

May 10, 1987 GMT

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ Israel’s army may phase out ″Golda shoes,″ the sturdy, lace-up work shoes favored by the late Prime Minister Golda Meir and supplied to female soldiers since the state was founded, army officials said Sunday.

Most women consider the heavy, ankle-high shoes too unfashionable and toss them to the back of the closet, preferring to wear instead their own sandals, tennis shoes or dress shoes with their light beige or dark green army uniforms.

The army is considering changing the design of the shoes or giving female soldiers an allowance to buy their own footwear, said a military official.

In keeping with army regulations, the official insisted on anonymity.

The official said she did not know when a final decision would be made, but the Jerusalem Post newspaper said the army already canceled an order for thousands of pairs of Golda shoes.

″They are ugly and heavy,″ Pnina, a 20-year-old soldier from Tel Aviv, told a reporter Sunday. She said very few of her colleagues wore Golda shoes.

The army allows female soldiers to buy their own footwear, but specifies that the shoes must be black, flat and have laces.

Pnina, who would not give her last name, said she was once fined 15 shekels (about $10) for wearing open-toed black sandals, the type she wore Sunday.

Golda Meir served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974, the only woman to hold the office. A strong-willed woman, she was once hailed by founding father David Ben Gurion as the only man in his Cabinet.

Israeli women are drafted at age 18 and serve for two years in the army, mostly in clerical jobs.