Religious women on the rise at IDF officer school

46 religiously observant women soldiers are currently studying to become IDF officers, up from 25 in 2010.

311_Army chick praying (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
311_Army chick praying
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The number of religious women at the IDF Bahd 1 Officer Training School is growing, with the figure climbing by nearly 100 percent in the past year alone.
According to the latest statistics, 46 religiously observant women soldiers are currently studying to become IDF officers at Bahd 1, which is located near Mitzpe Ramon. In 2010, only 25 religious women were studying at the school.
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The increase in female cadets follows the sharp climb in the percentage of male religious soldiers in recent years. According to a senior officer at the school, 40% of cadets training to become officers in the Infantry Corps are religious.
“It is a pleasure to see the increase in the number of religious female cadets in the school,” the senior officer said.
“It requires us to set up a separate company for women and for men in some courses but it is well worth it.”
Religious women have the option of receiving an exemption from military service, but the IDF Manpower Directorate has made a concerted effort in recent years to “open” a number of attractive jobs for religious female soldiers.
In related news, Bahd 1 commander Col. Eran Niv recently allowed two soldiers, who had been expelled from the school earlier this year for walking out of a ceremony where a female singer was performing, to rejoin the officer training course.
The senior officer said that Niv made his decision after the two soldiers – who had disobeyed their commander’s direct order to remain in the ceremony – took responsibility for what they did and expressed regret.
“It is completely forbidden to disobey orders unless they are unlawful orders,” the officer said.
“We need to safeguard the status quo between religious and secular soldiers in the IDF and that requires all sides to make compromises.”