IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi announced his intention to increase the number of female senior officers by 50% over the next five years. The announcement was made at a General Staff Forum meeting in honor of International Women's Day that included meetings with leading women in business who presented strategies for advancing gender equality.
Kochavi also directed that steps be taken to increase the number of women in the IDFs technology and cyber related positions.
In order to meet these goals, Kochavi directed that a plan should be brought to his approval within three months that outlines solutions to the challenges women face in their service that prevent them from fulfilling the potential contribution they could make to the IDF.
"I welcome the increase in the past few years in the number of women serving in the IDF and especially the increase in women serving in combat and technical positions and the increase in the amount of female officers," said Kochavi.
"We must work to maintain these trends and also work to increase by 50% the number of female senior officers in the next five years, as well as increasing the number of women serving in technological and cyber positions in the army.
"The IDF must serve as an example for the integration of women and commanders must lead the change and handle this issue personally."
The number of women serving in combat positions has increased by 250% in the past six years.
Some 74% of Israelis support women serving in combat roles, according to a Na'amat poll conducted by Geocartography Knowledge group for International Women's Day. The poll, published on Monday, found that Israelis are divided on the topic of which combat positions should be open to women.
Some 37% of Israelis support opening all IDF combat roles to women, while just over 37% support women serving in most but not all combat positions, 14% think that women should not serve in combat positions at all and 11% think that women should not serve in the IDF.
In Israel's security sector, the biggest gender pay gap is in the IDF. This is partially due to salaries based on risk levels, according to a report by Israel's Employment Service, published Sunday.
Many men in the IDF are paid higher salaries because they fill positions with higher risk levels. In many cases, women are not allowed to fill these positions because they are combat positions not open to women.