New female soldiers drafted to Bardales battalion.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
The IDF has established a new territorial battalion in the Arava region on the southern Jordanian border.
The Bardales Battalion will be co-ed, and half of its future members, the female soldiers, were drafted to the army on Sunday, Col. Itzik Cohen, commander of the Arava Brigade, said. Male recruits were drafted last week.
Cohen, who has served in his position for a year, described the battalion as a force multiplier that will gain expert local knowledge on terrain, form lasting bonds with local residents, including with armed civilian response teams.
Learning how to deal with floods in the winter and extreme heat in the summer will be a key feature of the battalion, he said.
The large size of the Arava region is one of the central challenges, Cohen said. “It stretches from the Dead Sea to the Arava in the south.” The unit will carry out patrols and counter-infiltration missions.
“We don’t see terrorism here and we don’t believe there will be any in the near future. We have dealt with illegal work migrants,” he said, though there has been no such infiltration in the past five months.
However, “Like any serious unit, we are preparing ourselves for hostile action,” he stressed. “If the reality here changes, we will know how to respond.”
The new recruits will move to the Golani Brigade training base near Hadera and begin their basic training, Cohen sad.
“Training will be similar to the [co-ed] Caracal Battalion,” Cohen added, referring to the unit that secures the border with the Sinai Peninsula.
The Bardales Battalion is the third co-ed unit in the IDF, along with Caracal and the Lions of Jordan Battal - ion, which patrols the Jordan Valley.