For the first time, a woman is to lead a combat battalion in the Israel Defense Forces. Maj. Oshrat Bachar has been assigned to the Eitam field intelligence battalion, which is attached to the army’s Southern Command. Bachar will take command of the battalion this summer, after completing her studies at the IDF General Staff and Command College.
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She will be the second commander of the battalion, which was formed just two years ago and which operates along Israel’s border with Egypt.
Bachar most recently served as operations officer for the IDF’s field intelligence academy. Before that, Bachar served as company commander in the Nesher field intelligence battalion, also in the southern command, and as head of the integration unit in the office of the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff.
Bachar and her husband, Maj. Ohad Bachar of the IDF Engineering Corps, have a 7-year-old daughter. In an interview with an IDF periodical last year, he was quoted as saying that both he and his wife “aspire to be battalion commanders.”
An officer who knows Bachar called her a “fighter,” adding that the new appointment would be “an outstanding achievement for the IDF and the field intelligence corps.”
Women have served in the past as battalion commanders in the education corps and in logistics units, but not in combat units. Around two years ago, a female officer was appointed commander of the communications battalion in the Intelligence Corps’ unit 8200. In the Israel Air Force, a woman has achieved the position of deputy squadron leader.
According to IDF figures, only 5 percent of senior commanders – colonel and above – are women, while 13 percent of lieutenant colonels are female.