Women in special forces units likely to suffer 'severe damage'

Supreme Court due to rule on petition allowing women to enlist in special forces. Head of women's premilitary academy is opposed.

Hezki Baruch ,

IDF Female soldiers
IDF Female soldiers
Hadas Parush/Flash90

On Monday, the Supreme Court is due to rule on a petition regarding the potential recruiting of female soldiers to IDF special forces units.

In a surprising opinion submitted to the Court, Rabbanit Michal Nagan, head of the country’s first pre-military academy for religious women, expressed her view that women should not be integrated into special forces at the current time.

Nagan warned against an overly hasty decision to open special forces units to women, writing that, “Prolonged and extreme physical exertion is demanded of all soldiers in special forces units, and this is not compatible with the structure of the female body.”

She added that, “Special forces units engage in missions of an exceptional nature. Recruiting women into these units is likely to cause severe damage to young women, and will also damage the important process of integrating women into the IDF as a whole.”

According to her, “Over the years, I have heard too many cases of young women who suffered injury as a result of being exposed to incompatible conditions.”

She concluded that she remains “committed to the important work of integrating women into the IDF. The call to enable the recruitment of women to special forces in the name of equality needs to be balanced with great attention paid to their wellbeing, as well as specific concerns for their physical and mental health.”