The Defense Force Corps of Israel Defense Forces investigates how women can be better integrated into combat roles that until now have only been fulfilled by men.
Two weeks ago the subject was discussed in a meeting between Brig. Gene. Sharon Nir, the advisor to the head of staff on gender issues, and the Brig. Brig. Gene. Ilan Sabag. It was decided that professional officers would investigate different combat roles to possibly integrate female soldiers.
Such roles include combat engineers, dispersers of explosives, robot operators and operators of heavy equipment.
A senior officer in the IDF's ground troops said: "This topic is on the agenda now and we are certainly reviewing it with the realization that it is feasible – we just have to find the right way to do it." The officer also noted the importance of integrating female soldiers into meaningful roles that would enable them to serve in more challenging positions.
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"The aim is to investigate how these roles can be opened up as combat engineers, soldiers who defuse explosives or use heavy equipment for female soldiers, similar to what we have in the armed corps." We have serious discussions on this subject and investigate how we can integrate them into these roles, in which frameworks and on what fronts.If we see at the end of this process that it can be done, they will get roles that are meaningful and challenging – we will not do it alone, so that we can say we did it, "the officer added.
The officer says, however, that the IDF does not intend to send one of the newly integrated women to the battlefield in the near future. The nature of the operations in the engineering corps is such that there is extensive operational activity on all fronts, where the soldiers arrive as professionals to help other troops, carry out technical work in the vicinity of borders or in the West Bank, dealing with minefields , demolition of structures, among other tasks.
The IDF added that, in addition to efforts in the engineering corps, they also want to investigate how female soldiers can be better integrated into more units. The decision includes female soldiers in combat units that are still standing.
Despite criticism from some rabbis, the army nevertheless decided to explore the possibilities of integrating women into new roles, as was done with great success in the armed corps.
In June, four women completed the course of the tank commanders for the first time. This concerned a pilot project carried out by the army, in which 15 female soldiers were trained as members of the tank personnel. The pilot was considered a success, but the army says the women will not be deployed in tanks in the near future. Instead, they will serve as instructors for extra female soldiers.
The question of the integration of women into key functions in the army has led leading Zionist religious rabbis, including the heads of the pre-military academies, to take an aggressive campaign against it. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed approached the Prime Minister recently and asked him to dismiss the Chief of Staff of the Army. "Return the keys and go home" said Eliyahu.
"Eisenkot has adopted a crazy feminist agenda," said Eliyahu, in response to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who said on Army Radio that "if you receive an immoral order, namely to serve with women, politely tells your commander that you are not going to army for that. "
The remarks of the rabbis were made against the background of the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel T. as head of a refugee squad, the first female pilot who assumed such a high position.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) also responded to the appointment of T. said: "There are professions for men and professions for women, that is how God created the world and that is what is good for the world. distinctions to blur, self and the world wrongs. & # 39;
In February last year, the commander-in-chief of the army, Brig. Gene. Eyal Crimea, spoke to young trainees at a pre-military academy in Beit She & # 39; an, just before they served. He talked about the integration of women into the armed corps and told the young men not to interfere in this matter, since someone who comes to a combat unit will only encounter a female clerk at the most.
Crimea added that he respected gender-blended units, saying that "there are girls who do duty along the borders instead of an afternoon coffee in Dizengoff Street." They are willing to give their lives day and night on a border that no infiltrator has come in the past 2000 years. "
Crimea further said that Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot had promised him that the IDF would only send soldiers who were willing to mix units, and that joining these units would require Crimean's approval.
"Just as the chief medical officer can establish that a soldier can not be a commander in the naval commando unit because of his medical status, the chief rabbi can also establish that a soldier can not serve in a mixed-gender unit because he has won. " I am able to do things that are important to him. "