Israeli Army Opens More Combat Roles to Women

Six female recruits inducted into special unit in the artillery corps are already undergoing basic training.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Women soldiers are increasingly being incorporated into IDF combat units.Credit: Michal Fattal
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces has opened new combat positions to women, this time in the Artillery Corps. In recent weeks, six women were inducted into one of the corps' special units and are now undergoing basic training in the south, together with male recruits.

The women will join the Moran unit, which operates the Sky Rider drones – 7-kilogram UAV systems that provide aerial intelligence images in real time for battalion commanders in the field to use.

A senior officer said that, following careful examination of the tasks involved, the IDF decided to allow women to join the UAV operating teams.

However, the women will operate drones in coordination with the IDF's mechanized units, primarily in the Armored Corps, and not with the infantry, where soldiers must carry the UAVs on their backs.

In a related development, Vered Swid, director of the Authority for the Advancement of Women – which operates under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office – has called on the IDF to break the glass ceiling and open additional positions to women that have been staffed solely by men up until now, including senior posts. Among other appointments due to be made soon is that of economic adviser to the chief of staff.

In addition, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, the only female member of the top-level IDF General Staff, will be stepping down from her post as head of the Personnel Directorate next week.

An IDF soldier holds a Sky Rider.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

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