Four female soldiers on Thursday completed the Israeli army’s first course for female tank commanders – even if they received training for lower-tension areas.
“Today, after a year and four months, we can categorically state that female tank fighters can carry out operational missions in protecting the borders,” said Brig. Gen. Guy Hasson, head of the Armored Corps.
The course was a sequel to an experiment by the army in which 15 women were trained as tank crew members. Of them, four went on to the commanders’ course.
In the pilot program for training women as tank crew members, 30 women were chosen from mixed combat battalions. Five dropped out during the course, but the army noted that the drop-out rate was about the same as for male tank crew candidates.
The course for female tank commanders was practically the same as for men, the army said. One difference was that the women received a week’s training for southern Israel, rather than for the Gaza border, the West Bank and northern Israel.
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The women, however, will not be boarding tanks in the near future; they will be trained to train other female combat soldiers and to establish a network for women in the military.
Still, Israel will eventually join countries like Norway, Canada and Australia on the short list of states with women in tanks. The women’s graduation ceremony is due to be held Thursday evening.