IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi is considering increasing the number of units in which female combat soldiers will be able to serve, opening up the mechanized infantry to women recruits.
In the army's response to the Supreme Court on the question of women serving in elite units and the infantry, it revealed that its professional taskforce, headed by Gen. Yoel Strick, has recommended to promote the option of incorporating women into the mechanized infantry.
"In light of the conclusions reached according to the theoretical model that was developed, the taskforce has recommended the institution of a trial period for the integration of women into mechanized infantry units, following the conclusion of the trial period for integrating women into combat tank units tasked with defending the borders," the IDF wrote to the Supreme Court in its response.
Kochavi has also decided to "experiment" with incorporating women into the elite 669 Unit which is responsible for Air Force rescue operations, as well as the Special Engineering Corps (where they will be trained as sappers) and other mobile infantry units.
The entrance bar for Unit 669 is to be set relatively high; only women weighing at least 78 kg and who are at least 1.66 m tall will be considered.
The IDF taskforce headed by Strick includes officers of both sexes, professionals in all areas with a wide variety of relevant experience. They were tasked with examining three main issues: the IDF's responsibility to fulfill its missions and first and foremost to meet its operational tasks; ensuring the health and safety of all soldiers; and optimal use of manpower.
According to an IDF spokesman, "The taskforce carried out a thorough, in-depth, comprehensive, and precedent-setting investigation over a year and a half."
Among the findings were the facts that the integration of women into foreign armies has met with little success, and that the average woman's physical cabilities are significantly less than those of the average man.
After examining the issue and holding several discussions, the Chief of Staff reached his decisions regarding the implementation of the recommendations, which are to be adopted in a professional and gradiated manner while meeting the stated goals, and with an awareness of the responsibility of the IDF to fulfill its mission, including both its operational tasks on the battlefield and safeguarding the welfare of its troops.