The IDF is offering a new service track for young religious women in the hope of attracting more of them to serve in the military. The track will enable them to serve in groups of six or more girls who will remain together throughout their military service. The new option was presented this week before a group of 500 religious girls who are candidates for enlistment.
Military journal BaMachaneh reported that the idea of serving in groups is meant to assist religious girls who are interested in military service, instead of volunteering for civilian duties in the National Service, or opting out of national service. The close knit group which they would be part of could assist them in maintaining the religious lifestyle that they are used to.
The new track will offers the recruits the option of group service in the Air Force – as simulator trainers, intelligence researchers or aerial photography analysts. In the Ground Forces, the groups will be able to serve as instructors in the Armored Corps, Engineering Corps or Artillery. In the Home Front Command, they will be able to serve in Personnel Branch and in Teleprocessing Branch, as observers or population guides for emergency situations.
The new track is a joint initiative of the IDF and NGO Aluma. Captain Ravit Noi of the IDF's recruit base, now known as Meitav, said that the track was created “in order to provide a solution for religious girls who are interested in meaningful service, while maintaining a serious religious framework. We hope that the immediate environment will be composed of girls who come from similar backgrounds.”
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel standing ruling is that Jewish girls may not serve in the army for Halachic (Jewish legal) reasons beyond those concerning religious frameworks. This ruling gave rise to volunteer National Service options which are independent of the IDF and contribute significantly to Israeli society.