Daily Israel Report

‘Dangerous IDF Experiment’ on Female Soldiers Alleged

Forum head repeats warnings of long-term injuries to female combat soldiers, terms mixed units ‘a dangerous experiment.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/6/2013, 1:45 PM

Female soldiers (illustrative)
Female soldiers (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The IDF’s mixed male-female combat units are causing permanent damage to many female Israeli soldiers, says Col. (res.) Raz Sagi, head of the Forum for a Strong IDF (FSIDF).

“We interviewed dozens of young women, and we did not find a single one who didn’t complain of injuries suffered during military combat service which prevented her from living a normal life,” Sagi told Arutz Sheva. “Unfortunately, the IDF is conducting a dangerous experiment on these girls in the name of feminism.”

Common injuries include hip stress fractures, ruptured discs and uterine prolapse, he said. “Combat service just shatters them,” he concluded.

The IDF lowered the physical requirements for female soldiers to allow them to join combat units, “and still, twelve percent suffer injury, compared to zero percent of male soldiers,” he reported. Those injured include former female athletes, he added.

Sagi has made similar claims in the past. He challenged the IDF to release its data, which he said will prove him right.

“I demand that the IDF be required to reveal the percent of women who suffer life-long injuries, compared to male soldiers in combat roles. When it is published, there will be a public outcry and committees of inquiry,” he accused.

Sagi took part last week in Knesset discussions in the Equal Share of the Burden Committee, which is weighing the issue of hareidi-religious army service.

His goal, he said, is to keep the IDF strong and to make sure that combat ability remains the foremost goal. “I’m trying to protect the backbone of the IDF from bizarre decisions that have nothing to do with state security,” he explained.

“The idea that men and women should be equal when it comes to military service is an absurdity that has been disproven in every army on earth,” Sagi continued. “It’s evolution, there’s no way to change it.”

IDF: 'No Basis in Fact'

IDF spokespeople admitted that injuries to female combat soldiers during training and service were once an issue, but denied Sagi’s claims.

“The IDF integrates soldiers from all walks of society, and this integration is one of the IDF’s founding principles as the ‘people’s army,’” they said. “Women are integrated in the IDF in a variety of positions, in accordance with the military’s needs and with their personal and professional abilities.

“In recent years, comprehensive efforts were made in which the measuring stick for physical criteria for female combat soldiers was changed, the nutrition provided and weights were altered… These measures brought about a significant reduction in injuries among female combat soldiers.

“The IDF continues to track injuries among soldiers, and to make changes when necessary. The charges Mr. Sagi makes lack any basis in fact, and are misleading,” they concluded.