IDF may reserve some top posts for women

15 senior positions throughout in Operations Directorate and Ground Forces Command considered.

IDF cadets 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF cadets 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Facing a drop in the number of female soldiers interested in military careers, the General Staff is currently considering making available - exclusively for women - 15 different senior positions throughout the IDF Operations Directorate and the Ground Forces Command. The initiative to create staff positions exclusively for women was started by Lt.-Col. Shosh Raban, who serves as the head of the Field Unit Branch in the GFC. The Field Unit Branch was established earlier this year with the aim of assisting female soldiers who serve in IDF combat positions - mostly as combat trainers and soldiers in the Karakal Battalion, which is responsible for border patrols in the South - in creating military careers. "The problem was that while men who become officers know that they have a career track and go from the commander of a platoon, to a company, then a battalion and maybe a brigade, women have no such track," explained a senior GFC officer. The result, the officer said, was that female soldiers were becoming less interested in becoming officers and signing on for more years of service. "In the current graduating class at the Bahd 1 Officer's Training School, there are only 25 female cadets," the officer said. "There used to be over 50." As a result the outgoing head of the GFC, Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi, decided several months ago to designate nine positions - that come with a promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel - for female officers who have served in combat positions. The problem, the officer explained though, is that there are currently 140 female officers with the rank of major who are interested in receiving a promotion to lieutenant-colonel. "The average ratio in the IDF is that there are three officers who compete for every available job at the level of a lieutenant-colonel," the officer said. "In the case of the female soldiers, the ratio is currently 14 candidates competing for every available job." The General Staff is scheduled to make its decision on the issue in the coming months.