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More women soldiers seeking to serve in combat units, IDF says

November 5, 2013 06:49

“We’re seeing growing numbers of women in combat roles compared to last year," says aide to chief of staff.

Female IDF soldiers applying camouflage

IDF female soldier, camoflage_311. (photo credit:Reuters)

There is growing motivation among women in Israel's military to join combat units, the Israel Defense Forces said Monday, citing new data.

“We’re seeing growing numbers of women in combat roles compared to last year. There are more women interested in significant service in the IDF as combat soldiers,” said Brig.-Gen. Raheli Tavat-Vizel, who advises the chief of staff on women’s affairs in the military.

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An IDF spokeswoman said figures for women serving in combat roles in 2013 were not yet available to the media, but figures for previous years showed a clear rise between 2006 and 2012.

As of last year, 58.9% of the Caracal infantry unit, stationed on the border with Egypt, was made up of women, and 10% of Artillery Corps soldiers were women. The Border Police consisted of 6.3% women members.

Tavat-Vizel said that female soldiers serving in units such as those operating Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries and in Caracal have all expressed high satisfaction with their service.

“The commanders of these units, and the commanders of the arenas, are very satisfied with the service of the female soldiers. They are treated like their male counterparts, as we would expect,” Tavat-Vizel added.

An effort is being made to recruit religious female soldiers too, she said.

Tavat-Vizel’s office is working to ensure women soldiers are treated equally and promoted on an equal basis. These efforts resulted in a recent decision by the IDF to shorten the service time of male soldiers to two years eight months and lengthen the service time of women to two years and four months, beginning in July 2015.

“When the women serve for as long as the men, we’ll be able to cancel the volunteer procedure for [female] combat roles and turn this into a normal recruitment target,” Tavat- Vizel explained.

In recent days, a conference was held in Tel Aviv to encourage the enlistment of women to combat roles.

Organized by Tavat-Vizel’s office, the conference featured a variety of women soldiers and officers who spoke to younger women about to enlist in the military.

“We gathered a group of quality women who are interested in combat and made available the information they needed,” Tavat-Vizel said.
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