Female soldiers in the IDF (illustration)
Female soldiers in the IDF (illustration)Flash 90

Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi will inform the Supreme Court tomorrow (Wednesday) that the IDF will open a training track for female soldiers in the years 2024-2025 in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal), in the 551st Mobility Unit and for the first time in an armored track. This is despite promises by the Chiefs of Staff in the past that there would not be soldiers in maneuvering units in general.

The Chief of Staff clarifies in his answer to the Supreme Court that there is a low probability of the success of a female combatant course in Sayeret Matkal, but he respects the decisions of his predecessors and the Supreme Court.

The Chief of Staff notes that combat roles for women in the Armor Corps will begin at an unknown date that will be announced later.

In the response of the Chief of Staff it is evident that the IDF does not believe in this move but was forced to try the move due to fear that Chief Justice Esther Hayut's ruling would take the ability to decide on the matter away from him. "The decisions that were made are intended to preserve the other significant populations that serve in the IDF and allow them to continue to fulfill their service."

The new roles that will be opened for women are:

• Service in Sayeret Matkal in 2024, with a training track that will be opened as soon as a sufficient number of female soldiers are found who will successfully pass the screening. This is in addition to the applications that will be accepted for experience in the Yahalom engineering unit and 669 pararescue unit starting in November 2023.

• Starting a trial for the establishment of a female combat team in the infantry mobility corps, which specializes in ways and means to rapidly mobilize and move troops. The trial will be carried out in a designated training track that will be opened as part of a mobility unit currently operating in the 551st Infantry Brigade, and subordinated to one of the elite infantry maneuvering units in the IDF, subject to a sufficient number of applicants passing the screening.

• Starting a pilot unit for training female soldiers for a combat role in armor. Female soldiers who will be recruited for the role of tank soldiers in border defense will be trained in a course that matches the requirements of the role of maneuvering armored vehicles.

The IDF emphasizes that "the experiment will be carried out in an orderly and balanced manner, as part of a commitment to previous decisions and processes in the IDF. The issue will be examined based on data and conclusions, which will be accumulated from the rest of the experiments, right from the starting point. Decisions will be made according to the results of the experiment."

The various options will begin during the year 2024.

The IDF says that women have served in the IDF since its inception, and make a significant contribution to achieving its goals. Over the years, there have been lengthy processes in the IDF to expand the various roles in which women are assigned, in particular in combat roles, while adhering to the principles of the Joint Service Order, and maintaining the spirit of a people's army and the service from all sections of the population and society. Today, 90% of the positions in the IDF are open to women, and thousands of female soldiers serve in diverse combat roles.

Following petitions submitted to the Supreme Court to expand the combat roles open to women, in-depth and thorough examination processes were conducted in the IDF. Following these processes, it was decided that the selection procedure for women would be the same as the selection procedure for men, in a way that will expand the opportunity for women to participate in screening for combat roles. Thus, women will be able to be selected for combat positions without threshold conditions, similar to men.

In addition, trials for female soldiers have been opened in Unit 669 and the Yahalom unit. The first group of 12 female soldiers is undergoing experimental training that began in March 2023, and in November 2023 additional female soldiers will be recruited to the unit. The first recruitment for Unit 669 is expected to be held in November 2023.