The March 2017 enlistment for combat units has begun, including the recruitment for the IDF’s newest mixed-gender combat unit.
“In the coming enlistments men and women will join the IDF and be assigned to combat units in the field as well as to combat support units and others,” the army said in a statement.
The fourth mixed-gender battalion was opened as part of the army’s need to make up for the loss of manpower since reducing the mandatory service period for men from three years to 32 months as well as the increased interest by women to serve in combat positions.
The IDF’s three coed battalions were first formed in 2000 with the creation of the Caracal Battalion stationed along the Israeli-Egyptian border. The two other battalions, known as Bardalas and Lions of Jordan, were formed in the past three years and are stationed in the Jordan Valley and southern Israel respectively.
According to the army, there has been a 5% increase in the motivation among female recruits to serve in these units as compared to last year’s enlistment, with 80% stating that joining the mixed-gender unit was their highest preference when they enlisted.
The new unit is responsible for an expected spike in female combat recruits in 2017 which will see over 1,130 female combat soldiers enlisting, with close to 900 serving in combat-intelligence units, 200 serving in the artillery corps and another 50 in the army’s infantry units.
The new unit, yet to be named, will be stationed in the Jordan Valley where the soldiers will be responsible for protecting the border as well as surveillance roles. It will be operationally active by this November.