The IDF has launched a new territorial battalion in the Ara'ava region of southern Israel on the Jordanian border.
Col. Itzik Cohen, commander of the Arava Brigade, said the Bardales battalion would be co-ed, and that half of its future members, the female soldiers, were drafted to the army on Sunday. Male cadets were drafted last week.
Cohen, who has served in his position for a year, described the battalion as a force multiplier that would gain expert local knowledge on terrain and form lasting bonds with local residents, including armed civilian response teams in the area.
Learning how to deal with flooding conditions in the winter and extreme heat in the summer would be a key feature of the battalion, he said.