For the first time since the position was opened to women, 12 female IDF soldiers have successfully completed their eligibility screenings for the elite Yahalom Combat Engineering Unit, the IDF said in a Friday morning update.
The screenings took place over the course of three days and were attended by 21 female soldiers, who underwent comprehensive testing which focused on a variety of areas including the applicants' technical and physical ability.
The 12 girls who passed the screening will begin the year-long training course within the unit on Sunday, at the end of which, they will serve as combat soldiers in the Yahalom bomb disposal team.
In June 2022, the IDF announced that the Yahalom unit would be opened to women who wish to serve within it starting from March 2023, so long as they met the necessary requirements.
The nine soldiers who did not pass the Yahalom screening process will be eligible for other combat roles in which women are already eligible to serve, as per the initial decision in June 2022.
What are the requirements for women in elite units?
To avoid compromising the operational requirements of combat units, and due to the need to carry heavy loads of more than 40 kg. for long distances during war, the Medical Corps formulated basic threshold physical requirements for women who want to join elite combat units, including Yahalom.
The exact requirements vary from unit to unit, with elite units requiring women to weigh at least 78 kg. and be at least 1.66 meters tall. Women in combat infantry units must weigh at least 67 kg. and be at least 1.64 meters tall, and those who want to join the Armored Corps must weigh at least 60 kg. and be at least 1.65 meters tall.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.