IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi submitted a rare and unusual affidavit, which he signed, to the Supreme Court in preparation for the decision on the integration of female combatants, among other things, in the some of the units of the Armored Corps.
The Chief of Staff writes in the affidavit that, "It is proper to wait with this experiment for a significant period of time, during which we will derive significant lessons from the experiences in the special units and in the infantry."
Halevi emphasizes in his answer to the Supreme Court, "Therefore, the experiment will begin at the end of 2024, in accordance with the completion of the examination that will be held during the year, paying attention to the lessons of the other experiments. This experience will be carried out in the training of female soldiers for a combat profession in Armored Corps, in the framework of which female soldiers will be trained for the role of tank soldiers in border defense, in a training course that matches the requirements of the relevant units in the Armored Corps."
"This decision is as part of my commitment as Chief of Staff and as part of the IDF's commitment to my previous decisions and previous processes, and paying attention to the content of the conditional order. The experiment will be evaluated according to professional criteria, and at the end of it I will make decisions."
According to him, the chances of success of the integration are low: "I would like to clarify that to the best of my judgment, and based on the current data in front of me, the chances of success here are low and the risk high. Based on these considerations, I do not see in the near future a real possibility of fully implementing the trial in the Armored Corps. I would also like to point out that from my perspective as a combatant commander for the past 35 years, under these circumstances, it is not right to hold the trial. Since the starting point of the trial is about a year away, we will continue to examine the issue based on data and conclusions that will be accumulated from the rest of the experiments, until the starting point."
The Chief of Staff also refers to the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, Sayeret Matkal: "For special units - we will open a trial for women's service in another special unit will be opened as early as 2024." He added that this will be "subject to locating a sufficient number of suitable candidates required for this, in addition to those who will be accepted for service in Unit 669."
"During the year 2024, preparation for the beginning of the trial will be performed, which will begin with the selections expected in the fourth quarter of 2024. As mentioned above, these decisions were taken seriously, not without consideration, and while giving great weight to the honorable court, the order given and the importance of the continuity of the processes of my predecessors in the position. I hope that they will, in the end, contribute to and strengthen the important process we are carrying out."
Halevi emphasizes for the first time that it will not be possible for women and men to serve in the same tank together: "When we come to make such an important decision, we must also see the way in which we leave the IDF united and unified. Therefore, the expansion of the placement of women in combat roles must be carried out, where relevant, taking into account all the aspects arising from this and in the size of a gender framework suitable for this, including maintaining the principles of the joint service laws. For example with regard to the challenges related to the service of female soldiers alongside male soldiers, the fact is that it will not be possible to serve together in the same tank."